March 31st, 2006


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jimbojones
01:11 pm - I thought this was something responsible people just did
So, I decided to go to Student Health and get an HIV test today.

A few weeks ago, a girl I went out with a few times last year showed up unexpectedly on my doorstep.  I have no idea what she wanted - we didn't part on the best of terms, and she showed up at a crappy time, so I didn't talk to her - but it occurred to me "Hm.  Y'know, not that it ought to matter anyway (for obvious and latex-related reasons), but what if she showed up to tell me she was sick?  And it's been ten years now since I got out of the Navy and therefore since I had my last HIV test.  I should go get one done."  That's just what responsible people DO, right?  I mean, you don't have to actually think "oh noes I haev teh AIDS", you just get tested every now and then just to make sure.  Right?

Well when I showed up to Student Health I was a little surprised when the appointment-setting-lady seemed a little furtive and wrote "HIV?" on a little card and flashed it at me to confirm that's what I'd asked for.  But, you know, okay.  I can see people would be embarassed.  Hell I was a little embarassed, there were people standing around, and it's sorta like having to carry a box of condoms up to the register.  Embarassing but you do it anyway, right?  I figured she was probably just trying to be considerate.  So I didn't think anything more of it.  And you know, when I sat down with the doctor for a mandatory initial screening before they sent me to the lab to get the blood taken, it was a little degrading to get the usual "are you high risk, do you do IV drugs, have you had any new partners in the last six months," blah blah blah routine.  But you know hey, it's better to give everybody the speech so that the people who really need it don't feel.  You know.  TARGETED with it, like "oh you look like a scumbag, let me give you this speech."  Also, 99% of doctors seem to think it's necessary to treat any patient, no matter how demonstrably intelligent, as slightly dumber than the typical Rhesus monkey.  So I didn't think anything particularly of that either.

But then the consent form got placed in front of me, and you know what?  By law in this state, if you get tested for HIV, your name, driver's license number, and Social Security number are reported to the state.  That's just if you get tested AT ALL, mind you - before any results ever come in.  If your results are positive, your name and your positive result are reported to DHEC.  I casually expressed my surprise and dislike for this to the screening doc, and he explained that, well, you know, stuff is still confidential.  It's not like your name or your results go anywhere but to the state.  And, you know, it's because they figure that a lot of people, well, won't be responsible people.  So you'll automatically get tagged for certain programs.  To make sure of things.  You know.

Never mind the fact that the really irresponsible people just aren't going to get fucking tested anyway - particularly given that you have to pay for the damn test to begin with - even beyond all that, what's that got to do with the people who DON'T test positive, whose uniquely identifying data is reported to the state just for being tested AT ALL?

And of course, nothing on that form says a damn thing about what the state is and is not allowed to do with the datum that you submitted to an HIV test on [x] date, cross-filed with your name, DL, and SSN.  So now, my name and uniquely identifying information have been irrevocably enrolled in a state list of "people skanky enough to maybe have teh AIDS."  Wonderful.  I'm kinda interested to see if the all-beneficial, all-regulating state will now start bombarding my address with helpful pamphlets to tell me not to share my needles and to keep it in my pants until marriage.  Since, you know, I'm on the skanky people who think they might have teh AIDS list, and so obviously that would be in both my best interest and the state's.  Or maybe they'll "confidentially" share it with the drug companies for a little "targeted marketing."  Imagine what an opportunity it would be to market herpes meds and condom ads and, oh, hell, why not a needle share program, to only the people skanky enough to think they need an HIV test!  That's targeted marketing, and that's good for companies and consumers, right?  Or maybe just prayer groups.  Obviously that's a demographic in a lot of need of prayer.

Yeah, I'm more than a little irritated.  I thought we lived in a more liberal age than this.

Tags:

 
Current Mood: disappointed with government - AGAIN

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Comments:



 
[User Picture] From: katyakoshka
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:34 pm
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Ugh. That's creepy, disturbing, and seems like it shouldn't quite be legal, but can be defended with stuff about public good, etc. All sorts of fictional dystopian societies come to mind. Want a vidscreen for every room of the apartment? You don't have books, do you? Strength in unity!

There's a book that came out in the past few months or so, Gilead. Keeps reminding me of another theofascist future vision.

Meh.


 
[User Picture] From: wanton_bliss
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:38 pm
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I found this entry wholly unnecessary because I had already accessed your HIV results on a state-sponsored website.


 
[User Picture] From: zeldappa
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:55 pm
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haha!


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:58 pm
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I don't know why you bothered, I keep telling you you'll have to wear a condom anyway I'm straight.


 
[User Picture] From: wanton_bliss
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:26 pm
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Wait, you thought you were going to be the "top"?


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:31 pm
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From: ex_severus678
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 06:19 pm
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ha!

i was watching this call-in sex question show on "oxygen" one day, on which callers ask this frisky elderly canadian woman all sorts of embarassing questions. she is quite joyful and entertaining, and as an added bonus keeps a bunch of dildos behind her little counter and demonstrates things with them.

one show this gay guy calls up and asked if he could put a vag-condom up his arse before he even went out to a bar, and just keep it in there all night so he wouldn't have to worry about it later. it actually makes sense, i think. old canadian lady thought it was a "very interesting" question, and ultimately concluded that she didn't see why not.

that's the only show i ever watched on oxygen. i think they also have lots of GG reruns and such -- it's kind of indistinguishable from Lifetime.


 
From: jesebel
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:40 pm
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Let me start out by saying that you kick ass. Now I am going to tell you something that sucks EVEN MORE about South Carolina: incurable STIs are also reported to the state!!!

What I would like to know is what the state plans to do with that information. Are these people with STIs immediately blacklisted? Are undercover DHEC reps one day going to start appearing in bedrooms to warn unsuspecting paramours of the dangers of the person they are on the verge of sleeping with? Is this some attempt to trace the path of a virus from one person to another and somehow punish the originator for irresponsible behavior? And like you said - the truly irresponsible people are the ones who aren't getting tested in the first damn place!!! Really, there is about no way you can trace who's passing what to whom - one person can carry an STI and not actually have it. It can stay dormant in the person who contracts it for YEARS before actually showing up. There is no way and really no reason, at this point, to try to assign blame or responsibility for an "epidemic" to an individual. I don't understand it - and meanwhile hospitals and clinics are all up-in-arms about patient privacy! HOW IS IT PRIVATE IF AN ENTIRE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT IS AWARE THAT YOU HAVE SOMETHING?! See, this has so much more to do with individual responsibility than anything else - responsibility of one person to tell another person they have something before they have sex, and that person's responsibility to protect himself or herself REGARDLESS of whether the person tells him/her they have something.

Yeah, this is something that gets me riled up, too. But it is awesome that you got tested regardless of our state's bullshit practices in this area.






 
[User Picture] From: jette
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:50 pm
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Holy crap, do you know HOW ILLEGAL that is in California?!?!

Or at least used to be 15-20 years ago - before I just went ahead and let my ob/gyn put it on the regular work ups, we would go to the health center where you had ANONYMOUS testing - as in ALL you had to identify yourself was a random number they gave you - you weren't allowed to give a name - this was by law, they had to provide anonymous, not confidential, testing.

I'd be very suprised if this changed as there have been huuuge public health debates about this - notification vs not scaring away people who need to be tested.


 
[User Picture] From: jette
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:51 pm
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[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:55 pm
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And really it's worse than what that page says. Not just "medical personnel may have access" - which to me just kinda means that it's on record at the hospital and in theory somebody could look it up if they wanted to - but "your unique identifying information is specifically reported to the state", as in not only can they look it up, IT'S ALREADY SPECIFICALLY INDEXED AHEAD OF TIME.

I am not pleased.

I am also not going to take a road trip to another state to GET tested anonymously, cause, you know, turns out 1. I'm not planning to try and run for a political office and 2. if necessary my name can BE published as somebody who damn well DID get an HIV test, if for no other reason than "fuck-you political protest."

But it shouldn't have to BE like this. Testing should be easy and preferably free, not ... all of this. Bah.


 
[User Picture] From: jette
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:57 pm
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I'm just cranky enough to put down fake information, because I'm that incensed about this.

As it turns out, California and Hawaii are the only truly anonymous places, since you can't give a name, not even a pseudonym -nothing that could identify you.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:51 pm
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Yeah. I don't live in California.


 
[User Picture] From: jette
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 06:53 pm
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If you want to avoid this next time you can go to Georgia (check comment above).


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:04 pm
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I am far too pugnacious to do something like that. I'd be more likely to drive HERE from Georgia to say "YES, FUCK YOU, I GOT AN HIV TEST AND THAT'S A GOOD THING" than the other way around.


 
[User Picture] From: jette
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:04 pm
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[User Picture] From: quinnlove
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:02 pm
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Bastages.

The other month, I went to the girly doctor and got my checkup, which I do every couple of years. I know, I should go more often, but I don't. I said, "Hey, I'm not at risk or anything, but I'm really neurotic, can we just test me to be sure? Really sure? Really 100%, not 99%, sure? Because, you know, sometimes those tests are wrong."

There was no reason to worry. I am sometimes a worrier, and I can't go preaching good sexual health to people unless I'm extra super double careful. And my ex-boyfriend's doctor refused to test him, on the grounds that he was a virgin. Hello? He could have HPV.

So this time, I asked my doctor to just test me for everything he could think of, before my insurance runs out. And he did. Just to comfort me. And do you know what happened?

IT WASN'T COVERED. My STI testing, PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE, wasn't covered by my insurance. Apparently it's never covered. I have great insurance, but still it's not covered. SCREW THAT.

Bastages.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:33 pm
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Re: Bastages.

And my ex-boyfriend's doctor refused to test him, on the grounds that he was a virgin. Hello? He could have HPV.
Or HIV. Or Hepatitis. Or Herpes.


 
[User Picture] From: quinnlove
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 07:56 pm
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Re: Bastages.

EXACTLY.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: March 31st, 2006 - 08:28 pm
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Re: Bastages.

One wonders if he also refuses to STD test catholic girls that are "virgins" since they're "saving themselves for marriage" except for. You know. The buttsex.


 
[User Picture] From: bubblerella
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 02:40 am
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Old article .. from 2004 http://www.wyff4.com/health/2783279/detail.html

And they wonder why STDs are on the rise in South Carolina. DUH! Most people don't want through the stigma of getting the test. Positive or Negative results you have to go through the same bullshit.


 
[User Picture] From: scarlett723
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 03:42 am
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techinically that's all illegal under federal HIPAA regulations. No personally id-able info can be reported to the government.


 
[User Picture] From: scarlett723
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 03:36 pm
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sorry, my battery was almost out last night when I posted that, it's HIPPA (Health Insurance Information Privacy and Portability Act or something like that) but basically what it means is no one but your health care provider is allowed to see your private information AND when statisitics, etc get reported to the state/government they cannot contain any personally identifiable information. We're actually fighting an Act here in Ohio that would cause abortion reports to be identified with a specific person. Obviously illegal, but a lot of the morons in state government either a) are too stupid to understand this or b) don't care. The problem being that the law will stand until someone sues regarding it. How many people do you know that are willing to sue over an AIDS test (for exactly the reasons you stated) yeah, I thought so. So basically, a health care provider would have to sue. My suggestion is next time you need any sort of that testing is you go to planned parenthood or something similar, they're usually good about privacy. Though if there's a state regulation, who knows if anyone's ignoring it.


 
From: docmagus
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 03:00 pm
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Sigh.....

And here I was just starting to like the state that I moved into. Now as far as I know, and I could be wrong here, but this is a common practice by states. New York, and I belive Georgia also report the results of HIV tests as part of a pubilc health issue. Now in California when I had mine I was allowed to use a fake name and did not at any time have my results pubished (it was negative by the way for those who cared). Also peoples in California are entitled to disablillty bennifits (really if anyone has seen a last stage patient you would treat it as one as well) and monies from the many state run programs.

But I agree that the issue here is a privacy one. I do not want any of my personal information told to any agency in any form. Nuff said. No real rant there.

Sigh....I give up, I just give the fuck up on this place...


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 03:35 pm
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Re: Sigh.....

SC is in the minority on this but it's not all alone, 10 of the 50 states do similar shit.


 
From: ex_severus678
Date: April 1st, 2006 - 06:32 pm
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incidentally...

it's not like that elsewhere. in VA, MI, and NY, you can do "anonymous" testing. they don't even ask for your name (though at Mich. they did look at your student ID to make sure you're a student). you become a number. when you call in for results, you tell them your number and they tell you your status. completely anonymous -- as it should be. i am frankly stunned that it's not like this in SC. i wasn't getting any action when i was there so never had reason to stagger into student health for a test.

kath used to work there, you know.


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