BOSTON (AP) — A new state law is about to take hold that supporters hope will lead to more testing for HIV in Massachusetts.

Starting on Thursday, doctors need only to get verbal consent from patients to test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Massachusetts was previously one of two states that required written consent, a policy critics said often posed a barrier to routine screening.

Early detection of HIV can result in life-saving drug treatments and help prevent those with the disease from unknowingly spreading it to others.

AIDS Action Committee president Rebecca Haig says the AIDS epidemic won’t end unless people infected with HIV are aware of their status.

The new law still requires physicians to get written permission from patients before sharing HIV test results with other health care providers.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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