The South Dakota senate on Tuesday voted 32-2 to approve a bill that would allow the state health department to release otherwise confidential HIV records to prosecutors who are investigating people for intentionally exposing others to HIV. The bill would also allow health officials to contact the attorney general if they believed an HIV-positive individual was intentionally exposing others to the virus without informing them. Under current state law, doctors must report all cases of contagious diseases to the health department, but it is not permitted to make public the identities of those people.
"This is really a public health issue, allowing the secretary of health to work with the attorney general and law enforcement in certain emergency circumstances when people are being put at grave peril through the risk of HIV," said Sen. David Knudson. The bill has already passed the South Dakota house and now moves on to Gov. Mike Rounds, who has said he plans to sign it.