Oregon Names-Based HIV Reporting Delayed Until October to Ensure Public Awareness
Oregon officials have delayed for the second time a names-based reporting policy for people who test positive for HIV, with the policy now scheduled to take effect Oct. 1 instead of July 1, the AP/Eugene Register-Guard reports. The policy requires physicians to confidentially report the names of HIV-positive people to the Oregon Health Department and grants the department 90 days to follow up with doctors to ensure that patients receive proper care and support. Patients' names would then be converted into a numerical code. According to health officials, names reporting will "help them track HIV cases and direct prevention to the most at-risk populations," as well as "ensure newly diagnosed patients get proper care and counseling." But some HIV/AIDS community groups contend that because of the stigma attached to the disease, reporting names would deter many people from getting tested. Such concerns prompted OHD Acting Administrator Dr. Grant Higginson to move the policy's implementation back several months, giving state health officials more time to explain the reporting method to the public. "Even more important than what kind of reporting system we have is what kind of outreach we have to bring these people in for testing," he said (AP/Eugene Register-Guard, 5/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.