American Medical Association (AMA)

for supporting forced HIV testing of pregnant women.

The American Medical association (AMA) recently reversed its long-standing opposition to mandatory testing of pregnant women. As the licencing body for practicin physicians in the United States, AMA's endorsement of forced testing provides a dangerous precendent and gives ammunition to officials seeking to impose mandatory testing.
Since new-borns share the blood immune markers of their mothers for half a year before they develop their own, testing babies doesn't guarantee that the child is actually HIV+. All that it shows is that the mother is HIV+, thus testing her in a non-anonymous, non-consensual fashion.

Testing isn't treatment. Privacy and self-determination are not privileges reserved for men. Studies hav shown that women will avoid pre-natal care when mandatory testing has been implemented. This fear is especially great when women feel that their children may be taken away from them if they are discovered to be HIV+. Other studies have shown that, when given culturally sensitive counseling, nearly all women choose to get tested. Pre-natal care is the way to save babies. Not coercion.

ACT UP presents the AMA with a Golden Urn, awarded to drug companies, official, and organizaiton who have needlessly increased the death toll of people with HIV/AIDS. The AMA got it right the first time, but they bowed to political pressure from the religious right to change sound medical policy to now support forced testing of pregnant women.

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