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    Report of the WHO Meeting on Criteria for HIV Screening Programmes, Geneva, 20-21 May 1987.

    World Health Organization [WHO]. Special Programme on AIDS

    [Unpublished] 1987. 12 p. (WHO/SPA/GLO/87.2)

    The usefulness of proposed screening programs for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection must be weighed carefully against potential harmful effects. Because of complex social and ethical issues and the lack of any specific intervention against acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), screening programs may be intrusive and divert resources from educational programs. 21 participants from 17 countries attended a special meeting in May 1987 convened by the WHO Special Program on AIDS to discuss criteria for HIV screening programs. There was general consensus among participants that readily accessible counseling and testing for antibody to HIV, provided on a voluntary basis, are more likely to result in behavior changes that reduce the spread of AIDS than are mandatory screening initiatives. There was also agreement that mandatory screening of targeted populations is less likely than a voluntary approach to reach effectively those persons whose behavior can be influenced to reduce the risk of infection. To facilitate awareness of the complexities inherent in mandatory screening of at risk populations such as drug abusers and prostitutes, this report includes a list of criteria that must be considered and resolved in the planning process. These criteria are: what is the rationale of the proposed program, what population is to be screened, what test method is to be used, where is the laboratory testing to be done, what is the intended disposition of data obtained from testing, what plan will be used for communicating results to the person tested, how is counseling to be accomplished, what is the social impact of screening, and what legal and ethical considerations are raised by the proposed screening program?
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