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Public HIV clinics offer free on-site “quick” testing, to which Dr. Blick referred. This provides results and counseling availability in minutes rather than days. The problem is that when a test is positive or indeterminate, it must be confirmed by a more sensitive lab test, and the individual must return or call in to retrieve the results in a week.

Most testing sites report 40 percent to 70 percent of those needing extra testing results do not return. Reasons given range from individual denial to fear of the result to simply not caring.

Is this a government problem?

The testing is paid for; supported care and therapy is available; and the clinics and counselors are all government-funded.

All also can be tested by a laboratory blood test from routine samples drawn at any doctor’s office or hospital. This type of testing usually is paid for by private insurance or HMO reimbursement, and the cost is just $5 to $8, including labor and confirmation testing of the small percentage needing a supplemental test.

This is not a government issue or a greedy-insurance-industry issue; it is a personal accountability and personal choice issue.

We need to stop blaming the government for the HIV issue and look at advocates blocking routine HIV testing. If it is one’s choice not to be tested and to remain ignorant of HIV status, what choice does the individual have who unknowingly gets the disease from that ignorant person?

I guess he or she can blame the government.

R. CHIP STEPHENS

Westport, Conn.

Stop illegals and their enablers

Thank you for your excellent article on Saturday’s DefendDC demonstration (“Protesters want day laborers out of NE plaza,” Metropolitan, Sunday). Our goal was to get the owners of the Rhode Island Avenue shopping plaza to stop allowing illegal workers to congregate on their property. My only regret is that none of the many Ward 5 residents who demonstrated was quoted.

According to David Thurston, director of the D.C. Alliance for Immigrant Justice, “These workers are looking for dignity and employment. It’s for the benefit of the entire community.” But dignity is not something you gain by breaking the law.

Ward 5 residents are livid over public drinking and urination, harassment of women and property invasions by these illegal workers.

Story Continues →