WV House Committee Ensures Free HIV testing for Residents - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

WV House Committee Ensures Free HIV testing for Residents

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) - West Virginia health departments dealing with shrinking federal funding will not be able to charge for HIV testing.

In the last two years, West Virginia has lost more than $600,000 of federal money for HIV-AIDS programs.

A bill that passed the Senate unanimously would have let health departments charge people or insurers for HIV testing.

Officials say tests would have been provided for free or on a sliding scale fee for those who were unable to pay.

The bill was shot down Monday by the House Health Committee.

Delegates were concerned that people would read that health departments were charging for tests and would not get tested.

According to the Centers for Disease Control HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 550,000 Americans. Today, about 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and one fifth of those infected are unaware of their infection.

West Virginia ranks 40th in the United States for HIV prevelancy.

As the Affordable Care Act leads to more people being insured, the federal government is encouraging local departments to charge insurers for services that had been taxpayer funded.

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