While George Zimmerman ate up the mainstream media’s news cycle perpetually this week, and even President Obama himself got in on the action, spreading his own feelings about the verdict albeit tongue-in-cheek, as always is the case, there was another agenda at work. Our “While You Were Sleeping” category was created for situations just like this. Anytime there is a major polarizing news story like the Zimmerman trial has become, you can always bet that underneath the surface, politicians are eagerly pushing something through that would have normally been front page news but because of the distraction can slip through with little opposition or attention.
President Obama seized on this magical opportunity to sign his autopen to yet another executive order. Yes, not even a week ago was the last one, the one that gave him unparalleled authority over communications and the Internet. Well, he’s back. This order is called the “HIV Care Continuum Initiative.”
First of all, where did this come from? HIV and AIDS is certainly still a problem, but it has hardly been top of the news cycle lately. It seems kind of out of the blue that Obama would suddenly throw down an executive order about this, what with all the myriad of things out there he could be attempting to throw his authority around on. In any case, the executive order is getting a lot of attention in conspiracy circles for one reason: HIV and AIDS testing.
A lot of our fellow sites are sensationalizing this order by proclaiming that Obama has now legislated “mandatory” HIV/AIDS testing for everyone. Well, that is not technically true. The executive order only “recommends” that it be so. The real question that we all need to ask is how far the divide is between “recommending” and “requiring” and why exactly this is coming up at this particular moment in time?
We can assure you one thing. It is no accident. In any case, we have included the text of the order below. Hit the More button if you want to check out the entire document.
Executive Order — HIV Care Continuum Initiative
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ACCELERATING IMPROVEMENTS IN HIV PREVENTION AND CARE IN THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE HIV CARE CONTINUUM INITIATIVE
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to further strengthen the capacity of the Federal Government to effectively respond to the ongoing domestic HIV epidemic, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Addressing the domestic HIV epidemic is a priority of my Administration. In 2010, the White House released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Strategy), setting quantitative goals for reducing new HIV infections, improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. The Strategy will continue to serve as the blueprint for our national response to the domestic epidemic. It has increased coordination, collaboration, and accountability across executive departments and agencies (agencies) with regard to addressing the epidemic. It has also focused our Nation’s collective efforts on increasing the use of evidence-based approaches to prevention and care among populations and in regions where HIV is most concentrated.
Since the release of the Strategy, additional scientific discoveries have greatly enhanced our understanding of how to prevent and treat HIV. Accordingly, further Federal action is appropriate in response to these new developments. For example, a breakthrough research trial supported by the National Institutes of Health showed that initiating HIV treatment when the immune system was relatively healthy reduced HIV transmission by 96 percent. In addition, evidence suggests that early treatment may reduce HIV-related complications. These findings highlight the importance of prompt HIV diagnosis, and because of recent advances in HIV testing technology, HIV can be detected sooner and more rapidly than ever before.
Based on these and other data, recommendations for HIV testing and treatment have changed. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that clinicians screen all individuals ages 15 to 65 years for HIV, and the Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines for Use of Antiretroviral Agents now recommends offering treatment to all adolescents and adults diagnosed with HIV. Continue reading While You Were Sleeping — President Obama Signs Executive Order — HIV/AIDS Tests for Everyone?