Hospital Policies on HIV Antibody Testing

Theodore C. Eickhoff, MD
JAMA. 1988;259(12):1861-1862. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720120065038.
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Elsewhere in this issue of THE JOURNAL, Henry et al1 report the results of a survey of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing practices and policies in hospitals in Minnesota and in infectious disease—teaching hospitals throughout the United States. The great diversity of findings in both US infectious disease—teaching hospitals and in Minnesota hospitals should come as no surprise, considering the legal, ethical, sociological, and emotional issues that surround HIV antibody testing. The results obtained in Minnesota could surely be replicated in many, if not most, other states.

See also p 1819.

A national consensus seems to be growing gradually within the medical literature on the elements of a rational policy that would serve the needs of US hospitals and their patients. Although there are many sources to draw from, the ethical framework proposed by Bayer et al,2 the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control,3 and


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