Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Washington State Health Officials To Seek Approval To Switch From Code-Based to Names-Based HIV Reporting
Washington State Department of Health officials next month plan to seek emergency approval for a plan to record new HIV cases using the names of people who test positive, instead of codes, in order to continue receiving up to $5 million in federal funding for HIV services, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports (Aleccia, Spokane Spokesman-Review, 2/1). Currently, local health departments record HIV-positive patients' names and encode them before reporting their HIV statistics to the state. Under the new system, local health departments will report cases to the state using names. The state will not send names of HIV-positive people to the federal government, only the number of newly reported cases in the state (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/15/05). CDC does not consider code-based HIV reporting to be accurate, and federal officials have said they will withhold funds from states that use code-based reporting rather than confidential names-based reporting (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/27). Some HIV/AIDS advocates said that people might be reluctant to seek testing under a names-based system because of concerns about confidentiality. John Peppert, manager of HIV prevention services with the state health department, said there has never been a breach in the state's security system. Mark Garrett, client advocate and community educator for the Spokane AIDS Network, said the agency "has always supported something other than a name[s]-based system." Final approval of the plan is expected in June, according to Peppert. Anonymous testing is available at the Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest and the Spokane Regional Health District for $30 to $40, Garrett said (Spokane Spokesman-Review, 2/1).
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