Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Pennsylvania Health Department Looks To Institute Names-Based Reporting for HIV Cases
Pennsylvania lawmakers and residents will "scrutinize" the state Department of Health's proposed names-based reporting system before it is submitted for approval to a regulatory review commission appointed by Gov. Tom Ridge (R), the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Many HIV/AIDS activists and groups oppose names-based reporting as they "fear the lack of privacy may discourage people from getting tested." The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force plans to lobby the state Legislature to ensure that anonymous testing "remains an option," Task Force Communications Director Nancy Commella said. She explained that AIDS rates are increasing among IV drug users, but she said that these individuals may not seek testing as a result of government distrust and privacy concerns. But health department spokesperson Richard McGarvey said that with special software protection, which is used on the department's other 52 names-based reportable diseases databases, there has never been a "breech of confidentiality." He added, "We feel [names-based reporting] is the best method to use in Pennsylvania. You're able to link up the individual with the social service program." According to McGarvey, 1,620 state residents were diagnosed with AIDS in 1999 and approximately 23,000 are HIV-positive (Lukasiak, Pittsburgh
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.