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To Test or Not to Test: Issues for Probation and Parole Administrators Considering Testing Offenders for AIDS

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 53 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1991) Pages: 92,96-98
D C Langston
Date Published
4 pages
Probation and parole administrators who are deciding whether to test offenders for HIV should consider testing costs and issues such as whom to test, the purpose of testing, and how to use the results.
The four available tests are the ELISA test, the Western Blot immunopheresis test, the radioimmunoprecipitation test, and the cytoplasmic membrane immunofluorescence assay test. The ELISA is preferable due to its low cost of $2 to $38. Few agencies conduct mass screening of all probationers or parolees. Testing is usually done on request, in response to specific incidents where AIDS exposure was likely, and when offenders developed symptoms associated with AIDS. Agencies have made varying decisions regarding whether to inform only the test subjects or to include physicians, public health officials, employers, spouses, or family members. Balancing privacy interests against the fear of legal liability for failure to warn is a difficult issue. Thus, probation and parole agencies should ask legislators or other policymakers to create mandates to protect both the offender and the general population from the many problems associated with AIDS. 6 references


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