Failing to take an STD test can result in Child Neglect Allocations in Texas

Here's what happened:

I checked my email. I had a message from my health insurance company (United Health Care) saying that I had 2 newly filed claims. I logged onto my account to view those claims. They were for the following: an HIV test ($8.17), a chlamydia test ($20.89), a human papilloma virus test ($20.89), and a Gonorrhea test ($20.89). This totals to a $70.84 charge for being tested for STDs.

In Utah, my physician asked me whether or not I wanted to be tested for STDs. I laughed and said, "No!"

Here in Texas, I was not even informed by my OB/GYN (Dr. Amina Sayeed of OGA West in Katy) that these tests would be performed. I had no way to "opt-out", even if I had wanted to. Naturally, I am upset. The other prenatal tests, which were routine in Utah, and I expected to be performed, cost me $54.52. Which, by the way, is over twice as much as I payed with DMBA, BYU's Student Health Insurance. There, I went to the Health Center lab, paid $25, and didn't even know it was a great deal. Right now, I feel frustrated that I have to pay about $125 for prenatal screening tests, over half of which will definitely be negative.

I sent an angry (but polite) email to my OB/GYN's office. To me, failing to inform a patient of a test/procedure that will be performed on them (or their blood) is unethical and unprofessional. Not to mention illegal. I then found a new provider.

I found out from my new physician that Texas State Law (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.81.htm#81.090) requires HIV testing, syphilis testing, and Hep B testing in pregnant women at least one time during pregnancy. My previous OB/GYN said that they need to get the HIV, chlamydia, HPV, and gonorrhea tests three times. This doesn't even include the syphilis and Hep B tests. I don't get it. I was tested for a whole bunch of stuff that the law doesn't even mandate. Three tests could be manageable, but am I really expected to be tested for SIX STDs a total of THREE separate times? That would be at least $250 per pregnancy, just on STD testing!

I asked my new physician what would happen if I refused to take the tests. She said that if there was no record of my HIV, syphilis, and Hep B results on file at the time when I go into the hospital in labor, then the hospital would try to administer these tests. If I then refused, the hospital would contact Child Protective Services.

This is an outrage. The government should not have a role in telling me which tests I need to take. This is an example of how the chaste and monogamous have to pay for the promiscuity of the rest of society. Not only is it unfair, it's insane. Doesn't CPS have REAL threats to take care of?

Mom, and Janny, don't worry; I'll take the stupid tests. CPS is so corrupt and evil, there is no way Danny or I would let them come near our family with a 40 foot pole. Really, it's not the money that is the main issue, although there is no room for pointless $70 tests in our tight budget. What enrages me, what I find truly maddening, is the complete lack of trust the government gives to its citizens through legislation like this. I don't want to live in a nanny state, where some distant, white men make decisions about my family's health and well being. I want to live in a place where the government lets me make my own decisions about personal issues, like STD testing.

There is NO WAY that government-run health care can be a good thing for this country. Period.

Oh yeah, and the response I got to my complaint to the OB/GYN was from an irritated, defensive office lady who said things like, "If you don't get these tests done, you are a bad mother," "These tests are standard and are done everywhere, and I can't believe the office you went to before didn't do them," "If you don't get these tests, there's no way for your baby to be born healthy," "You wouldn't want a baby who has an STD," and, "There is no way to know that your husband isn't cheating on you." I felt bad, because she told me about how her husband had an affair, and she had no idea. I think on some level, this was personal to her. Though, that doesn't excuse her rudeness.

On some level, she's right; there is no way to definitively prove that a spouse will be or is being loyal. But when the society erodes into assuming that a spouse is NOT, there is a huge, huge problem, far deeper than this annoying bill that we have to pay.


  1. Hello Kate, Its your Aunt Yvonne. I'm sorry you had such an unpleasant experience and had to pay for things you don't need that others might.

    This morning I went visiting teaching with my new companion. She is a newly wed. They live in Virginia because her husband likes the gun laws better here than in Maryland. He thinks he is responsible and doesn't see why there needs to be any regulation.

    Loran and I were talking about the problem of the cars with the sticking gas peddles and how few of them there are compared to those with no problems, yet because the consequenses to even one person can be terribly dire they are going to recall all of the suspect cars.

    That is why we have laws. Not for the many, but for the few who are irresponsible. If everyone was responsible there would be no need for laws at all.

    All the states mandate that infants have a PKU test. Keep in mind that Texas is a "conservative" state. Deep down conservatives don't believe that anyone but themselves knows enough to make a decision.

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  3. Yvonne, I was also surprised at this "liberal" legislation in such a supposedly "conservative" state.

    Clearly, we have different opinions about government involvement in health care.

    Let's consider those other laws you mentioned: gun laws, car recall laws, and PKU testing in infants.

    A gun can pose real and imminent danger to adults and children, whether or not they own or are the operators of the gun. The same is true of a car.

    PKU is a very cheap screening test (I think Jane's was less than $10) for a genetic disease. It determines whether or not a person has the enzyme needed to use phenylalanine. If untreated, the disease can cause brain damage and mental retardation.

    Let's compare these conditions to the Texas mandated STDs: HIV, syphilis, and Hep B. Pretty much everybody is vaccinated for Hep B, including me and Danny, so I'm pretty sure that proof of this vaccination is enough to get me out of the testing. So on to syphilis and HIV: these two diseases can ONLY be contracted sexually or in utero from an infected mother. Therefore, if a person is chaste before marriage and entirely monogamous afterward, there is no way that they can contract these diseases.

    So, accidents with guns and cars can happen randomly, in unexpected situations, to many people. Accidents with these mandated STDs can only happen under specific circumstances, in predictable situations, to the people involved. I think this is a notable and significant difference. I agree that legislation is supposed to protect us from the few irresponsible. Probably this legislation has done more good than harm. I would never have supported it.

    Danny and I have both only had one sexual partner ever. If we had those diseases, we would know about it by now. If Danny and I had ever been promiscuous, and there were a possibility of either of us being infected, I would not object to the test. But being forced to pay for a test that I know will be negative is wrong. The government assuming that I am promiscuous is wrong. To me, it's almost like the government is SANCTIONING promiscuity. Maybe that's a stretch. Anyway, my take is that the government should not mandate health tests.

    I wonder a lot about how this STD-legislation will effect people without health insurance. Some of those tests were $500+ without health insurance. Like heck if a poor, single, urban mother will be able to pay thousands of dollars for mandated tests. So premiums go up for everybody else who does pay.

    The other thing is that nowhere in the law does it state the consequences for "opting out". It also does not state the procedure for "opting out." I found out about CPS' involvement by calling my physician.

    I have no objections to private practices and hospitals having their own standards as far as testing is concerned. But now, because of this law, the only "alternative" to expensive over-testing (and it's not one, in either of our opinions) is a home birth with a midwife.

    As for decision making, I sure as heck trust myself to make better decisions about my and my family's personal, mental, and physical health than some guy in a suit and tie who has never met me. From what I have experienced of Texas, so far, it is not as "conservative" as it is touted to be.


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