The least infringement principle has been widely endorsed by public health scholars. According to this principle, public health policies may infringe upon “general moral considerations” in order to achieve a public health goal, but if two policies provide the same public health benefit, then policymakers should choose the one that infringes least upon “general moral considerations.” General moral considerations can encompass a wide variety of goals, including fair distribution of burdens and benefits, protection of privacy and confidentiality, and respect for autonomy.
In this article, we argue that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2006 HIV screening recommendations (“Recommendations”) may violate the least infringement principle. This is a concern because, although not legally binding, the Recommendations appear to have already influenced state laws and will likely continue to do so as legislative proposals continue to be passed. At a minimum, therefore, the Recommendations have important implications for HIV screening within the United States.