Spending Cuts Could Lead To Fees For HIV Testing

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Federal funding cuts are likely to force West Virginia to start charging for HIV tests.

The state Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday that would allow local health departments to charge people for tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The health departments will charge on a sliding scale and will continue to provide free testing for those that cannot afford it.

Local health departments had been providing those tests free of charge. But in the last two years West Virginia has lost more than $600,000 in federal funding for its HIV-AIDS program. The state Department of Health and Human Resources is anticipating more federal cuts.

Because of the budget cuts and the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act, states are being encouraged to transfer costs to insurers.