Washington State HIV/AIDS Advocacy Groups To Protest CDC Names-Based Reporting Recommendation
HIV/AIDS advocates in Washington are planning to protest federal guidelines that advocate state governments record HIV cases using the names of patients instead of numeric or alphabetic codes, the Seattle Times reports (King, Seattle Times, 11/12). According to a CDC recommendation, states should implement names-based reporting of HIV-positive people because alphanumeric code-based reporting often has been inaccurate or incomplete. Beginning next year, some federal funding distributed under the Ryan White CARE Act will be associated with the number of HIV cases in each state, as reported by states to CDC (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/21). According to Jack Jourden, director of infectious diseases for the Washington Department of Health, the state receives up to $5 million in federal funding through the CARE Act for HIV/AIDS-related services that might be affected if it does not switch to names-based reporting by June 30. Currently, local health departments record HIV-positive patients by their names but then encode the names before reporting them to the state, the Times reports. Under the proposed system, local health departments would report cases using names to the state, which then would send data on the number of reported cases, but not names, to CDC. HIV/AIDS advocates say names-based reporting might violate patient confidentiality and that code-based reporting is sufficient. "There's no guarantee the name-based system will be any better than the (coded) reporting," Tina Podlodowski, executive director of Lifelong AIDS Alliance, said, adding, "All it does is increase the risk of names getting out." According to Jourden, the state already complies with CDC security standards. Public hearings on the proposed changes are scheduled for December in Seattle and Spokane, Wash., Jourden said (Seattle Times, 11/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.