Testing for HIV: confidential or anonymous?
With confidential testing, the person's name is connected to the test result, but that doesn't mean the information is going anywhere except a couple of statistical databases. It certainly isn't given to the tested person's employer, insurance company, spouse, partner, etc. Almost everyone is cool with confidential testing, because state health departments have a sterling record of protecting information.
Anonymous testing does not ask the person's name. You agree with the counselor on an identifying name/number. (No, you can't be Mickey Mouse or George Bush!). Some people are more comfortable getting tested anonymously.
With a name, the Texas health department can avoid duplicating records in the epidemiologic information needed to plan for HIV/AIDS services.
In Texas, parental consent is not required for an HIV test, so youth shouldn't be seen as a barrier to getting tested. Parents would be notified only if the kid is under age 12 and the result is HIV positive.
More than 1 million Americans have HIV, but 25-30% of those don't know it. Almost half of people who get an HIV test done at a public testing site don't return for their results, including 31% of those testing positive! Moral: If you get an HIV test, go back for the results! Not knowing doesn't make this critter go away. It just delays the life-saving care and prevention opportunities that testing offers.
For information about HIV testing, call the local health department at 972-5580; or call ASA at 458-AIDS. Make 2005 the year you took the test and took control!