South Carolina House Approves Bill That Would Modify Regulations Concerning HIV-Positive Students
The South Carolina House on Wednesday voted 97-0 to approve a compromise bill that would require school nurses to inform the Department of Health and Environmental Control when any student in grades kindergarten through 12 has contact with another person's blood in order to determine if the student has been exposed to bloodborne diseases such as HIV, the Columbia State reports. Under the bill, DHEC would notify school nurses if a student involved in incidents such as fights or sports injuries has HIV, hepatitis or any other bloodborne disease and will advise about medical treatment. Clinics and doctor's offices will continue to inform DHEC of positive test results under the bill, which would stipulate that the names of students living with the diseases be known only to DHEC. Under current state law, school nurses and superintendants are notified by DHEC when they have HIV-positive students at their schools (Columbia State, 5/28).
DHEC has been concerned that the current requirement violates students' right to privacy. In addition, students might be more likely to receive an HIV test if they are confident their results would remain private, according to the measure's sponsor, Sen. Brad Hutto (D) (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/21).