Philadelphia to record HIV cases by codes
Although the state of Pennsylvania reports new HIV infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using the names of those who test positive for the infection, HIV cases in Philadelphia will be recorded by a coding system, according to an agreement between city and state health officials. Philadelphia Gay News reports that in a letter dated March 25, state health secretary Calvin Johnson agreed to let the city record HIV cases by codes for the next year. After that, the code-based system will be evaluated before it will be allowed to continue.
AIDS activists in the city had protested the state's decision to collect and report the names of those who've tested positive for HIV infection, out of fears of confidentiality breaches and worries that the system would discourage HIV antibody testing. Philadelphia mayor John Street in May 2001 informed state officials that the city would not participate in names-based HIV reporting when it took effect in the state in October 2002. City health commissioner John Domazalski praised the decision to permit code-based reporting in Philadelphia and said the new reporting system would be in place soon. The remainder of the state will continue to use a names-based HIV reporting system.