Local News in Brief : Group Urges AIDS Testing

One of the largest groups in Los Angeles County representing people infected with the AIDS virus has reversed its position on testing for exposure to the virus and is now encouraging testing of all people at risk.

Being Alive, which has more than 800 members, abandoned its previously neutral position on testing for exposure to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in light of evidence indicating that early treatment can slow the progression of the disease.

However, officials stressed that all HIV testing should be confidential. They also said they were calling on county officials to make available AIDS drugs to people infected with the virus and being treated through the county health system.

"We now know there is something HIV-positive people can do before they get sick," Dave Johnson, executive director of Being Alive, said Monday. "In order to do it, they have to get actively involved in monitoring their status."

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