Opinion: HIV Testing Should be Mandatory

Essay by danieltfolsomHigh School, 10th grade March 2007

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In 1995 nearly fifty thousand individuals died of HIV/AIDS in the United States alone. Increased public awareness and the production of various medications have given this number a very notable decline, yet still over seventeen thousand people died last year - and the numerous benefits of mandatory HIV testing amount much too important to ignore.

Type in "HIV every day" in Google and you will see is a CBS Report, "1000 Kids Get HIV Every Day." It will be followed by a Moscow Times Report, "100 People Get HIV Every Day." Clearly there are some massive discrepancies between predictions of the prevalence of HIV, and the incongruity is certainly testament of how little we know of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus' impact, but more importantly: it is a plea for mandatory HIV testing.

Surely by this point in the article the typical American defensiveness and sense of immunity have kicked in.

HIV mostly effects poor nations in Africa - right? Yes to some extent; but while African countries may make up the majority in this case, a National HIV Prevention Conference in 2005 determined that if the United States were to document every case of HIV and AIDS, the number would strengthen the current number of cases by two hundred forty nine percent. That would mean that nearly 1.5 million people are unaware that they have contracted the deadly disease. This is especially daunting given that the bulk of this populace is presumably sexually active, and that the total number of HIV patients has increased by four hundred thousand since 2005 (the former statistics have disproportionately increased and the disparity continues to grow).

Early treatment will save lives. If provided early in the disease's development, HIV medication can not only slash the quantity of infections, but it also prolongs the...