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Health, Science and Environment

Bill package would update Michigan’s HIV laws

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David Shane
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https://flic.kr/p/9kedZ4

Bills in the state house would update Michigan’s HIV laws.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services worked on the bill package, which they say brings the state’s response to HIV into the 21st century.

Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan’s Chief Medical Officer, said a lot has changed since laws around HIV were first written in the 1980’s.

“This package is really mean to update the HIV legislation in our state because so much has happened in regards to the ability to treat HIV, diagnose HIV, that we really needed to update that information.”

Wells said one thing the bills would change is how quickly HIV tests need to be reported when they show a positive result.

“Right now electronically we require that if a health care provider gets a test result back for HIV they need to report it to the local health department or state health department within 24 hours. In the law it says seven days, we’re just updating the language there.”

Wells said the bills would lower the penalty for failing to inform a sexual partner that you have HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor.

“What the new law would do if passed is now be able to differentiate an HIV patient who has an undetectable viral load, you seperate that from someone who may be intending to transmit HIV to uninformed partners.”

Wells said if someone is on medication and using protection it is unlikely that they would transmit the disease.

She said Michigan averages roughly 700 newly diagnosed people with HIV a year. As of 2016 there were 15,629 people in Michigan living with HIV.