Georgia Set to Adopt Names-Based HIV Reporting System; AIDS Advocates Say System Will Jeopardize Confidentiality
August 14, 2003
Georgia -- the only state that does not have a system of collecting HIV case data with personal identifiers -- on Monday announced plans to establish a names-based HIV reporting system, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. However, AIDS advocates said that the plan to use patients' names will jeopardize confidentiality and will discourage people from getting tested. The state Division of Public Health said that the current system of tracking HIV cases without personal identifiers, such as a patient's name or a unique identifying code, is not useful because the federal government requires more detailed information when determining state AIDS funding levels. In addition, under the current system, state officials are unable to determine whether two sets of similar demographic information represent two different HIV-positive people or one person who took two HIV tests, Dr. Luke Shouse, the state's HIV/AIDS surveillance coordinator, said. Under the new system, doctors will be required to report the names of people who test positive for HIV. Test results will remain confidential and only the health department will have access to the names, health officials said (Yee, AP/Long Island Newsday, 8/14). Thirty-five states use names to track HIV; 13 rely on codes, and New Hampshire allows cases to be reported with or without a name. The health department later this month will offer details of the plan, followed by a 30-day public comment period, according to Shouse (Wahlberg, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/14). Health officials hope to implement the program by the end of the year, but the proposal first must be approved by the Department of Human Resources, the parent agency of the health division (AP/Long Island Newsday, 8/14).
Georgia Must Maintain "Delicate Balance" Between Public Health, Confidentiality in HIV Testing Program, Editorial Says
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.