PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Kaiser Permanente Northwest is apologizing to nearly 6,500 members in Oregon and Washington whose blood was tested for HIV without their knowledge or consent.
The health organization implemented a screening policy a month ago in line with a federal recommendation that virtually all adults be tested — as long as they're given the chance to decline the test.
Previously, the government recommended tests only for people at high risk, such as gay men who engage in unprotected sex, or intravenous drug users, The Oregonian newspaper reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/12yxLtk ).
But that hasn't slowed the spread of the disease, with 50,000 new HIV cases diagnosed annually.
About a third of people with HIV develop AIDS within a year, and about 20 percent of people with HIV don't know they have it, according to the federal recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. About 11 percent of cases are attributed to heterosexual contact.
The new recommendation is intended to provide additional encouragement to providers and health systems, but for some people, HIV testing is a touchy subject.
Kaiser Permanente Northwest began phasing in the tests a month ago, beginning with people ages 50 to 65. It has sent letters of apology to those tested without their consent.
Asked about the mix-up, Kaiser Permanente issued a general statement attributed to Tom Hickey, the system's chief medical operations officer.
"We deeply regret that this lack of communication may have caused unnecessary concern for our members and patients," and Kaiser Permanente has "taken steps to ensure that members have an opportunity to opt out of the test going forward," the statement said.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Both sides rested Wednesday afternoon in the civil trial to decide whether embattled District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg should be removed from office. The judge said he'll decide the case this afternoon.
County commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the buyout of 23 homes in the Timber Creek neighborhood.
Willie Nelson's nine-hole golf course in Briarcliff is up for sale and the asking price is $3 million, according to a local real estate website.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.
According to The Associated Press, about 14,000 Texans enrolled for health insurance in October and November on the embattled federal online exchange.
An historic early December cold spell is slowly waning, but temperatures will remain well below average for a couple more days.