Kentucky: HIV Identification Bill Clears House Committee
January 16, 2004
Kentucky's House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday approved without dissent a bill that would change the way Kentucky records HIV cases. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville), the bill would authorize the state to use patient names to track HIV cases, a method used in 38 states and preferred by CDC. Kentucky currently uses a special code to track its HIV cases. Under the bill, Kentucky's database would identify patients by name, but reports to CDC would continue to have code numbers.
States that use names-based reporting have an edge in acquiring federal money for HIV treatment, Dr. Rice Leach, Kentucky's public health commissioner, told lawmakers Thursday. The change to names-based reporting would make the state more competitive for the funds, said Leach.
"I'm the last person that I thought would ever be up here begging you to pass this bill," said Krista Wood, executive director of the Heartland Clinic in Paducah. "But when it comes to life and death and the care of our clients, it's just a necessary element." More than 100 HIV patients in Kentucky are on waiting lists for medication, she said. Wood is no longer worried about the names of HIV patients being divulged improperly. "It's like Fort Knox," she said. "It's in a locked vault."
One HIV-positive man, who did not give his name, endorsed the bill, saying he worried that money for his medication would run out if the state did not adopt names-based reporting.
01.16.04; Bruce Schreiner
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.