FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – This week, Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced the "Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Regulations Amendment Act of 2020" to increase access to medical care for minors seeking treatment of HIV and AIDS.
The "Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Regulations Amendment Act of 2020" would allow minors of any age in the District of Columbia to consent to health services for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of HIV or AIDS. The legislation would also permit minors to access their HIV and AIDS medical records without parental consent and require healthcare providers to determine whether minors meet the informed consent standard before receiving health services. Finally, this legislation would ease the financial burden associated with testing, preventative care, and diagnostical treatment by directing the health care provider to seek reimbursement directly from the insurer and exempting the sales of in-home HIV tests from taxation.
“We know that HIV and AIDS can and does affect minors. While there are limitations on the purchase of home test kits at the Federal level, the District is a leader in access to health care and this legislation helps minors access important services for HIV and AIDS,” said Councilmember Pinto.
Under current law, minors of any age may consent to health services to prevent, diagnose, or treat pregnancy or its lawful termination, substance abuse (including drug and alcohol abuse), a mental or emotional condition, or a sexually transmitted disease in the District of Columbia. However, an individual must be eighteen years of age or older to consent to health services related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of HIV or AIDS. “It is time that we make HIV and AIDS health services directly available to minors to help prevent the spread of HIV through information and better healthcare access,” Pinto added.
Councilmember Pinto introduced the "Minor Consent to Healthcare for HIV and AIDS Regulations Amendment Act of 2020" in honor of today’s 33rd commemoration of World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day takes place each year on December 1, and is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
“It is important to acknowledge the impact AIDS has had on our communities and around the globe. I am inspired by the incredible efforts of District organizations to fight this disease and support those living with AIDS. On World AIDS Day we remember all those we have lost to the disease, fight against the stigma, and look towards a hopeful future.”
In addition to this effort to increase healthcare access, Councilmember Pinto joined her Council colleagues to vote in favor of measures to remove barriers to occupational licensing for returning citizens, establish a Commission on Poverty, ban non-compete agreements, extend unemployment benefits, help children impacted by parental incarceration, and support dozens of additional bills during today's legislative meeting.
Councilmember Pinto also introduced the "Furthering Equality and the Prohibition of the LGBTQ+ Panic Defense Ceremonial Recognition Resolution of 2020." This ceremonial resolution reinforces Councilmember Pinto's commitment to ending hate and other bias-motivated crimes against the LGBTQ+ community and comes on what would have been the 44th birthday of Matthew Shepard, a college student who was killed in 1998 because of his sexual orientation.
“I am committed to furthering equality for all District residents. In light of the Council’s recent action to prohibit the LGBTQ+ panic defense, and honoring the memories of those who were harmed or killed due to senseless acts of violence, this resolution confirms the Council’s commitment to root out hate and violence in our community,” said Councilmember Pinto.
The Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously to approve this measure and also voted to pass legislation that would ban the use of the panic defense -- a legal tool used to defend a perpetrator of hate crimes-- in a court of law and stem hate crimes in the District of Columbia.