Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  Breaking News: FDA Approves Triumeq, New Once-Daily Combination Pill
  
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

National News

South Dakota: Panel Delays Action on HIV Records Release Bill

February 26, 2003

South Dakota health officials are seeking legal authority to alert prosecutors if they think someone is intentionally spreading HIV. HB1019 would also allow the state Health Department to release otherwise confidential HIV information to prosecutors if ordered to do so by judges, and to alert the attorney general or prosecutors if they suspect someone has intentionally exposed others to HIV without telling them. The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed action on HB1019 until Wednesday.

If the Health Department becomes aware of someone intentionally spreading HIV in the state, it has to notify authorities, said state Health Secretary Doneen Hollingsworth. "Protecting the public's health is our number one priority in the Health Department," Hollingsworth said. "There is potentially a greater public health risk if we're not able to provide that information to law enforcement in very, very rare circumstances."

By state law, doctors must report all instances of contagious diseases to the Health Department. But the department is not free to disclose the identities of those people.

Opponents of the measure said it would put the health department in the role of prosecutor. Patients might not be truthful with their doctors or may avoid HIV testing altogether because of confidentiality concerns, said Zita Lazzarini, a public health lawyer at the University of Connecticut Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. Officials should get a court order to release records, Lazzarini said. "Release should not be allowed at the discretion of public health officials alone," she said.

Advertisement
The proposal clarifies what the Health Department can do and would be used rarely, said Hollingsworth. "Our law is very, very clear of how confidential medical reports must be," she said. American Civil Liberties Union of the Dakotas Executive Director Jennifer Ring said, "I don't see anything in the bill [that] makes this a last alternative. It's the blurring of the line between the Health Department and prosecutors that is a real problem to us."

Back to other CDC news for February 26, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Associated Press
02.24.03; Elizabeth Pierce



  
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

Tools
 

Advertisement