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Can you believe this?
Oct 25, 2005

Thank you as always for your kind words, but from my heart, I MEAN IT! You are family to me and I am so grateful to have someone like you on the side of so many affected with this dreadful disease. Family always stick together, through the bad and the good. I am here for you. How is your brother doing? I hope you take alot of pictures so you have the wonderful memories to look back on. He must be very proud of you as I am sure you are of him. I have had the colposcopy done. I am awaiting the results. Thank you for giving me the strength to go through with it. I felt your presence with me and am very grateful for it and your encouragement. I pray you feel my presence with you and your family in your painful situation and may you gather the strength from it to continue to do the outstanding things you do for yourself, your family and the little people like me. Please take care. I think of you always. Sending you all my love, hugs and kisses. Mommy of three

Hello dear friend.

As always, this mommy of three has you in her heart and on her mind. I just received an email from POZ and a deeply upsetting article came up. I have pasted it so you can read it and please tell me if you think we are all at risk of this and if there is anything you can suggest we can do to stop it. Can you believe it? And then they wonder why people do not want to get tested. Isn't there a law that can protect us? What about confidentiality laws?It is not enough that we have to cope with discrimination from people who are petrified of us when we have to disclose, but imagine what this will do to the rest of us, who want the option of not disclosing. Is it legal? I am having such a difficult time coping with my diagnosis and my sons, not to mention my positive pap test and awaiting my colposcopy results and am already starting to worry about where on this earth can we hide, so they cannot invade our privacy in fear of our very lives. Anxiously awaiting your reply but more than that, sending you lots of love, hugs and kisses as well as your brother and Dr. Steve. Love, Mommy of three

|| Health News ||

October 20, 2005

Illinois will begin names-based HIV reporting in 2006

Eric Whitaker, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on Tuesday announced that Illinois will begin in January tracking cases of HIV by name rather than alphanumeric code in response to mounting federal pressure to bring its HIV surveillance system in line with those operating in most other states, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago reports.

"The federal government has made the decision rather simple: Switch to name-based reporting or lose millions of dollars for essential HIV care, prevention, and housing programs," said Mark Ishaug, AFC executive director. "IDPH is facing this new challenge responsibly by bringing together stakeholders to ensure that every effort is made to protect client confidentiality and promote acceptance of HIV testing and care services."

AFC will serve on a task force convened by IDPH to review internal systems and assist the state in developing and communicating how HIV surveillance will operate in the future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pressuring all states to adopt names-based HIV reporting, which it considers a more accurate and consistent collection method than codes-based systems. The CDC has refused to integrate data from 13 states using codes-based reporting into its national HIV projections. At least 10 of the 13 regions without names-based reporting, including the states of California, Massachusetts, and Washington and the city of Philadelphia, are in the process of switching to names-based reporting systems. (Advocate.com)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Mommy of Three,

I combined your two posts into one.

Thank you for your kind words and support. They are warmly appreciated. As the song says, "People who need people. . . ."

Regarding names-based HIV reporting, it is a battle that many of us have been fighting for over two decades. California is one of only seven states and the District of Columbia that use coded reporting for HIV cases. The federal government (CDC) has been pushing for names-based recording for many years. We, on the other hand, have encouraged a code-based system to protect privacy, prevent discrimination and encourage HIV testing. The code-based system used here, like those used elsewhere, has been somewhat cumbersome and expensive. Some cases are lost because laboratories and doctors' offices sometimes send incorrect or incomplete codes. Some members of the health department have complained they are having difficulty gauging and tracking the HIV epidemic, because the reporting is incomplete. Therefore, there are problems in allocating appropriate funds to the proper counties, etc. The federal government has now said they will withhold funds from states that use code-based reporting rather than "confidential" names-based reporting. California, for instance, will lose as much as $50 million annually in federal HIV/AIDS funds if it does not switch. Overall, I still believe names-based reporting is a bad idea due to ongoing HIV/AIDS stigmatization and the potential for discrimination. If this leads to decreased HIV testing, the consequences will be more, rather than fewer, new HIV infections. Unfortunately, even though names-based reporting is a bad idea, it appears it's a bad idea whose time has come. We still do have HIV discrimination laws on the books. (Hopefully the new Supreme Court won't overturn that with Roe v. Wade.) We need to use those laws whenever discrimination occurs. We must also redouble our efforts to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and education. Ultimately proper education will decrease HIV/AIDS ignorance, apathy, myth and discrimination. Of course, HIV/AIDS education in the era of "abstinence only" sex education and puritanical policy wonks in positions of power in Washington is challenging to say the least.

Try not to worry too much about bad policy decisions. Eventually these problems will work themselves out. For now, focus your attention on getting well and enjoying those three little rascals of yours, O.K.?

Give them all a hug from Uncle Bob and save one for yourself, O.K.?

Dr. Bob


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