State Health Dept & HIV Status
Sep 3, 2004
I tested postive in Nov 2003. I received a message this week (August 2004) from the Colorado State Health Department asking me about my status. I was COMPLETELY SHOCKED that that somehow they knew my "Confidential" health information. I immediatly called my Doctor's Office in Denver and asked what may have happened. They said that they are required to report all positive patients info to the Health Department. I was NEVER informed that this would happen. The Doctor took complete responsibility for not informing me of the release of information. NOW I am in a Government Data Base without my permission or concent. It completely DESTROYED ALL the trust and mental work that I have been dealing with since finding out the news. What do I do? Is the any reprocussions that may come of this for me and/or the Doctor's Office and should I seek legal help in this case? The Therapist who works with me (I am currently not on Meds yet) is not in the office for the next 3 weeks and I don't think I can stand that long without some Mental support. Please point me in a direction so I don't lose it and do something that I will regret......HELP!!!!!
Response from Dr. Horwath
I don't know the laws of Colorado, but I will assume that your doctor is correct about being required to report HIV+ results to the Colorado Department of Health. Of course, you should have been informed that this may happen before you took the HIV test, so that you could opt out if you desired.
As for your current concerns, State Health Departments routinely handle information about sexually transmitted diseases and other health information. I would not expect your information (linking your name or other identifying information to the result) to leave the Department of Health. This type of information is usually stored in secure locations with access only to authorized Department of Health personnel. I do not anticipate any other repercussions to you.
If you would like further information, why not call the Colorado State Department of Health and ask them about their security precautions for this sort of health data.
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