Let’s all embrace the feel-good sentiments our government constantly provides:
All Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 should be routinely tested for HIV to help catch infections earlier and stop the spread of the deadly virus, federal health recommendations announced Thursday say.
“I think it’s an incredible advance. I think it’s courageous on the part of the CDC,” said A. David Paltiel, a health policy expert at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Encouraging the FDA to end its ban on blood donations by gay men would be courageous. This recommendation is an example of “more is always better” masquerading as good policy.
The recommendations aren’t legally binding, but they influence what doctors do and what health insurance programs cover.
Some physicians groups predict the recommendations will be challenging to implement, involving new expenditures of money and time for testing, counseling and revising consent procedures.
The idea is not terrible, but its implementation must be based in reality. Raise your hand if you think this will be implemented across the healthcare industry as a new routine. I’m sticking with No because we seem to have already figured out that our “limited” money and effort could be spent elsewhere. How stunning this suggestion isn’t is clear enough in this:
CDC officials have been working on revised recommendations for about three years, and sought input from more than 100 organizations, including doctors’ associations and HIV patient advocacy groups. The CDC presented planned revisions at a scientific conference in February.
Three years to suggest that everyone between 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV. Now raise your hand if you think that government-run healthcare is a good idea. Everyone gets tested for HIV, so someone misses out on a procedure or prevention relevant to her life. I’m sure our grand experiment with government-run (or financed, at a minimum) will be different from other countries, though, so no reason to worry.
Because some government busybody will suggest new public policy eventually, I’ll point this out now to save my ranting time later for rational issues:
Previously, the CDC recommended routine testing for those at high-risk for catching the virus, such as intravenous drug users and gay men, and for hospitals and certain other institutions serving areas where HIV is common. It also recommends testing for all pregnant women.
Some misguided do-gooder will add men with intact foreskins to that list. And I’m not really saving any ranting, because I’ll do it then, as well. Ugh.
Update: Looking over this post, it’s clear I forgot one thing, although I hope it was clear given my comments about what action would be courageous. Lumping gay men into the high-risk category by virtue of being gay is preposterous. Behavior matters. It’s small thinking that equates one with the other based solely generalizations from a generation ago.