AUNT RITA’S FOUNDATION CITES “MONUMENTAL SIGNIFICANCE” TOWARD ENDING HIV EPIDEMIC WITH GOVERNOR DUCEY SIGNING HB2433 INTO LAW
Blood testing for HIV, Like for Iron and Cholesterol Levels, Now Part of General Consent
Governor Doug Ducey’s signature turning HB2433 into law “has monumental significance in the effort to end the HIV epidemic in Arizona,” said Aunt Rita’s Foundation Executive Director Jimmy Thomason.
The bill, authored by Amish Shah, M.D. and signed by Governor Ducey on May 25, adds testing for HIV to the “general consent” for individuals getting a blood test. The option to decline to be tested for HIV remains in force, “but the significance of its inclusion is now recognized and agreed upon,” Thomason said.
The law goes into effect 91 days after the current Arizona legislative session ends.
“The discovery of someone testing HIV positive was once a scarlet letter,” Thomason said. “The fear of sickness and death was compounded by the fear of losing your job. We’ve come a very long way in removing barriers and mitigating the stigma of being diagnosed with HIV. Most importantly is in knowing that once someone is diagnosed, they can immediately begin treatment to reach a point where they are undetectable, meaning they can’t transmit the disease to anyone else. This new law will help save many lives.”
Currently in Arizona, more than 19,000 individuals are living with HIV. Many others are not aware of their status.
“HB 2433 will now make it easier for people to get tested and know their status. This move shows great progress toward normalizing HIV testing and eliminating the stigma. The sooner people know their status, the sooner they can get started on treatment and become undetectable. This will help us make strides toward our goal of ending HIV by 2030,” said Councilwoman Debra Stark, Co-Chair of the Phoenix Fast Track Cities Ad Hoc Committee.
Founded in 1986, Aunt Rita’s Foundation helps fund HIV programs at 14 non-profit organizations through more than $2 million in grants.
For more information about Aunt Rita’s Foundation, visit www.auntritas.org.
• Jimmy Thomason, Executive Director, Aunt Rita’s Foundation, 602-882-8675; email@example.com
• Steve Carr, The Kur Carr Group, Inc., 602-317-3040; firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Aunt Rita’s Foundation
In our mission to end HIV in Arizona, Aunt Rita’s quietly began in 1988 with our first fundraising bake sale. Since then, Aunt Rita’s Foundation has provided millions of dollars to HIV programs and prides itself as the “Connector of the HIV Community” with gap-filling programs that include testing and collaborative initiatives. Partner agencies include Ebony House, The Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, CAN Community Health, Chicanos Por La Causa LUCES Program, HEAL International, HIV Care Directions, Valleywise Health, one n ten, Southwest Behavioral Health Services, Southwest Center, Shot in the Dark, Southwest Recovery Alliance and Terros Health. Aunt Rita’s distributes free Home HIV oral swap test kits through GetTestedAz.org and provides vouchers for confidential clinical testings at 100 Safeway stores and Sonora Quest locations statewide. Aunt Rita’s signature fund-raising events are AIDS Walk Arizona and RED is the Night and will commemorate World AIDS Day with a community-oriented Picnic in the Park. Aunt Rita’s Foundation also works with the Arizona Department of Health Services to increase awareness and education about HIV/AIDS statewide through HIVAZ.ORG. For more information, visit www.auntritas.org or call (602) 882-8675.