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Kansas

Kansas ends free HIV testing in most rural counties

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Health advocates are warning that Kansas’ decision to stop providing free HIV testing for many small, rural communities restricts services for some of the most vulnerable in the state.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment used to provide services — such as free HIV testing kits and specimen analysis — to 40 counties.

But since Jan. 1, the health department has cut back, providing those services to only the 10 most populous counties with generally the most cases of HIV, The Hutchinson News reported Monday.

“What we’re really talking about is potentially decreased access to services,” said Michelle Ponce, executive director of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments. “If there’s not an entity in a community able to provide HIV testing on a basis which clients can afford, it’s not going to be done.”

The state said the money spent on free testing could be used more efficiently, particularly in counties with low rates of HIV infection.

Ralph Wilmoth, director of the state health department’s HIV/AIDS program, said the state and the federal Center of Disease Control and Prevention chose to use resources where they are most needed.

He said there are just 2,750 people living with HIV in Kansas and that in some counties the HIV infection rate is so low that spending money on testing in those areas made no sense.

Wilmoth also noted that the new federal Affordable Care Act is expected to provide HIV testing for people who previously were not eligible.

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14 more reader comments:

  1. That is so ignorant.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:45pm
  2. The country is going broke and ppl can just use condoms to save the taxpayers – as well as themselves – a ton of grief. The fact that HIV numbers are on the rise among young ppl today….that is real ignorance!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:47pm
  3. then come to texas cause they givem in line at kroger it seems to me…

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:47pm
  4. KS and Brownback… at it again.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:47pm
  5. Stupid and short-sighted.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:49pm
  6. They are so out of touch just like Oklahoma is

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:52pm
  7. They should use them, Bree, but they don’t always, and there is a failure rate, despite being massively low.

    The point is to make sure people who have HIV are AWARE they have it, to save on health care costs and prevent transmission. Besides, HIV isn’t always random sex. Sometimes it’s a cheating partner, someone you’re monogamous with and on birth control. So that cheating partner may bring HIV into the situation, and regular testing helps ensure everyone’s health in preventing the spread.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:57pm
  8. Bring on the epidemics!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 9:00pm
  9. @Bree. I didn’t know condoms now told the wearer if he/she had HIV! Idiot.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 9:02pm
  10. @bree Also condoms tend to break during sex about 68% of the time.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 9:06pm
  11. …not sure if troll or evangelical.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 9:12pm
  12. @William – you may want to learn how to put them on correctly if they’re breaking that often.

    @Bree – the country is going broke because the country stopped investing in it’s people.

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:15pm
  13. Haters

    Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 11:00pm
  14. Two steps forward, one step back.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:22am