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U.S. News

Michigan: City Defends Release of Private Health Information

August 5, 2009

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has written a letter requesting that Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox independently investigate whether the city acted improperly in a case involving the disclosure of an individual's HIV status.

In May, Lansing police working undercover at the Fenner Nature Center arrested a man on a charge of indecent exposure. Police officials said the man told the arresting officer he was HIV-positive, a detail the officer included in his report.

Later, the online political Web site Michigan Messenger and several groups filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details on the police operation. The report the police turned over included the man's name and the fact he was HIV-positive.

"Someone should get involved to make sure the police department's actions were proper and, if not make sure it gets corrected," said Alicia Skillman, executive director of the Detroit-based Triangle Foundation. The foundation and the Lansing Association for Human Rights have protested the release of the man's HIV status.

"There's legitimate concern, which frankly I share, which is why I welcome the attorney general's independent investigation," said City Attorney Brig Smith. "I'm confident the attorney general will conclude, as I have concluded, that there was no violation of the law," he said in a reference to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which ensures the privacy of health-related data.

Back to other news for August 2009

Adapted from:
Lansing State Journal
08.04.2009; Susan Vela

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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.
See Also's Just Diagnosed Resource Center
Telling Others You're HIV Positive
More on U.S. Laws/News Regarding HIV Disclosure