2018-10-11 / Opinions

Rep. Canfield: It’s time to reform outdated HIV laws

LANSING - Bills introduced by state Rep. Dr. Edward J. Canfield, D.O., to make necessary revisions to the state’s outdated HIV laws were approved this week by the Michigan House.

Canfield, a family medical doctor for over 30 years, said HIV is no longer the disease that it once was and certain tests named in statute are no longer used, therefore, it is time to update the laws to reflect current times.

“It’s been not years, but decades since we updated our state’s HIV laws,” said Canfield, of Sebewaing, “Significant strides have been in modern medicine over that time and it’s time laws are changed to reflect that.”

Canfield’s first bill in the package updates the public health code to no longer reference the western blot assay test, as it is no longer considered the most efficient or up-to-date test by the medical community.

His second bill updates requirements for local health departments that were previously only required to maintain HIV case information for 90 days. Canfield said this section was written before the electronic reporting methods of today and the law should be updated to ensure better, more thorough reporting.

“HIV is a serious ailment and we owe it to the people of Michigan to ensure we give the laws surrounding it the attention it deserves,” Canfield said.

The HIV Statute Reform Package moves to the state Senate for further consideration.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks an individual’s immune system and, if untreated, leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The weakened immune system prohibits the individual from fighting off other infections or diseases, generally causing such severe illnesses in someone that his or her life expectancy is greatly diminished.

There is still no cure available for HIV, however, treatment can control the virus, prolonging the life of an infected person and lower their chance of infecting others.

Before antiretroviral therapy (ART) was discovered in the mid-1990s, an individual with the infection could progress to a diagnosis of AIDS in just a couple of years. Today, individuals who take ART treatment each day correctly are expected to have a normal lifespan.

Among the many efforts to address the crisis, both federal and state governments have enacted laws related to HIV and AIDS, specifically as it relates to health care providers.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 Huron County View, All Rights Reserved

Click here for digital edition
2018-10-11 digital edition