Allegheny County, Pa., to Implement Confidential HIV Reporting System in June
Beginning June 1, Pittsburgh-area health care providers will be required to report all new HIV cases to the Allegheny County Health Department, the AP/Harrisburg Patriot-News reports. The recently approved policy requires laboratories, hospitals and doctors to report all HIV cases confidentially by using the patient's name or a "unique identifier" code. Providers who fail to report HIV cases face a criminal fine of $300 and a civil penalty of up to $10,000. While the county already requires reporting of all AIDS cases, officials say HIV reporting is necessary to "better monitor the spread" of the disease. The Pennsylvania Health Department currently only requires reporting of AIDS cases, but also is considering making HIV a reportable condition. However, the statewide proposal would require reporting by a patient's name, as "using codes would make it harder to get patients to medical care and for sex partners to be notified," according to State Secretary of Health Robert Zimmerman (AP/Harrisburg Patriot-News, 4/15). According to Pennsylvania Health Department spokesperson Richard McGarvey, 1,620 state residents were diagnosed with AIDS in 1999 and approximately 23,000 are HIV-positive ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.