The testing is not only good for the child, but good for the perpetrator, Mansell said. “Not only are we helping children in terrible situations, but if someone in the prison is tested and found to be HIV positive, treatment can sometimes keep that person from developing full blown AIDS and keep the prison population healthier.”
Mansell admits she wasn’t very optimistic the testing measure would gain momentum with the Legislature already under way. “We had to add it onto an already filed DNA bill,” she said.
But with major support from state representatives Mark Formby and Andy Gipson and state senators Hob Bryan and Brice Wiggins, Mansell said, the bill received unanimous backing. “Dr. Gay said that before she retired, she wanted this to happen, and with our legislators’ help, it did,” Mansell said.