HIV Prevention ‘Even More Important’ Than Refining California AIDS Specialist Law, Mercury News Says
Although clarification of a California law that gave HIV/AIDS patients the right to be treated by a physician specializing in the field is "important," preventing new HIV infections is "even more important," a San Jose Mercury News editorial says. Once implemented, the Department of Managed Health Care-drafted regulation, which would define "AIDS specialist," would make California the first state to require insurers to pay for referrals to such specialists, according to the editorial. However, these same AIDS specialists, who will be "busy" following HIV/AIDS patients and keeping up with current treatment options and literature, should follow Secretary of State Colin Powell's lead and find time in their schedules to promote condom use among the sexually active as a way to prevent HIV transmission, the Mercury News says. "Regulations like the ones written by the Department of Managed Health Care are important in bringing fairness to the treatment of HIV and AIDS patients. But until a cure and a vaccine [for HIV] have been developed -- and both appear many, many years away -- prevention is the message everyone must spread," the editorial concludes (San Jose Mercury News, 3/4).