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.