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Opt-In Testing

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Updated January 26, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: A physician or other healthcare provider asks you if you would like to be tested for a disease at any particular visit. Compared to opt-out testing
Examples:
Until recently, most HIV testing was done on an opt-in basis. This is changing with new universal testing guidelines. One of the problems with opt-in testing for HIV is that it requires people to make an effort to get tested. That is an effort that most people are unwilling to make unless they believe they are at risk. Even worse, they may feel that asking to be tested is the same as publicly admitting that they have engaged in risky behavior. Having HIV testing as the default destigmatizes the test, makes it easier to get people tested, and catches the virus in many people who would otherwise remain undiagnosed.
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