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HIV screening and testing of adults, adolescents, and pregnant women - R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 23-6.3-3

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All health care settings and HIV counseling, testing and referral services (HIV CTRS) must comply with the following provisions:

  • HIV screening and testing must occur in accordance with the most recent CDC recommendations for “HIV counseling, testing, and referral of adults, adolescents and pregnant women.”
  • Individuals that seek anonymous HIV testing must receive a referral to an HIV CTRS site that offers anonymous testing.
  • Health care settings and HIV CTRS sites must develop protocols for assessing high risk individuals, the frequency of HIV tests, communicating HIV test results, and linking individuals to care and support following a test.
  • Persons that test positive for HIV must receive priority for treatment in outpatient substance abuse treatment programs while those that test negative should receive a referral to the state agency that provides these services.
  • Positive test results must be provided in person and be accompanied by referrals to HIV counseling, health care, and support services.
  • Unless provided otherwise in § 23-6.3-4 (regarding exceptions to consent), HIV testing must be voluntary and performed only if the person knows and understands that they are receiving an HIV test. HIV tests may not be performed until: (1) the patient receives HIV counseling or information about such counseling; (2) the patient is notified that they may decline testing; and (3) the patient, or person authorized on behalf of the patient, gives their consent to testing. Providers must document a patient’s informed consent in the patient’s medical record.
  • Prior to receiving an HIV test, patients must receive information about HIV infection, means of reducing HIV transmission, an explanation of possible test results, an opportunity to ask questions, and an opportunity to decline testing.
  • Providers must include HIV screening in their prenatal care routine and comply with the aforementioned notice and consent requirements. Pregnant women must have the opportunity to opt out of the prenatal HIV screening. Providers must also test a pregnant woman when she goes into labor if her HIV status is not documented in her record and she consents after receiving proper notice and information. Newborns may be tested without a mother’s consent if the mother’s HIV status is unknown, reasonable efforts have been made to obtain the mother’s consent, and the mother is notified the infant has antibodies that indicate an HIV infection.
  • The department of health will provide guidance and information to health care facilities and HIV CTRS sites to assist their compliance with these requirements. The information will address risk reduction strategies, the benefits of HIV testing, and the availability of HIV counseling and prevention services. Information provided to patients must be easily understandable and available in appropriate languages. Health care facilities and HIV CTRS sites may use interpreters so long as they demonstrate their competency and are not related to or a friend of the patient.
  • Persons under the age of 18 to legally consent to the testing and treatment of HIV and all other reportable communicable diseases.
  • Physicians and health care providers may not discriminate against patients based upon their HIV status or refusal to take an HIV test.

Current as of June 2015