AIDS testing and informed consent.
This article examines whether hospitals should obtain specific informed consent for HIV testing in addition to the general consent for routine procedures that is obtained upon admission. The article argues that specific consent should be obtained in all instances in which the HIV test is ordered. When the test is ordered to protect health care workers rather than to benefit the patient, the patient must be informed of the true purpose of the test: special care must be taken to avoid claims of fraud or duress that might invalidate the patient's consent. Furthermore, testing patients for the sole purpose of protecting health care workers should be discouraged, since the protection of health care workers can already be accomplished through universal blood and bodily fluid precautions. In balancing the inconvenience caused by universal blood and bodily fluid precautions against the privacy rights of patients, the patients' rights should prevail.
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