New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will reorganize its AIDS program to allow the department to collect more information on HIV's spread and treatment, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The department currently does not have enough information to handle the issue of drug resistance, said health commissioner Thomas R. Frieden. On Friday, city health officials announced that an antiretroviral-naive city man had rapid AIDS onset with multiple drug-resistant HIV.
Frieden acknowledged the importance of patient privacy but said state law currently impedes the collection of data. Though about 50,000 people in the area are taking antiretroviral drugs, health officials do not know whether the treatments are appropriate, viral loads are suppressed, how the patients are doing, or other issues, Frieden said. Though it would be complex, gathering the information could be done, he said. State law would probably have to be changed to allow the city and state to get such information, he added. Guthrie Birkhead, director of the State Health Department's AIDS Institute, said he and Frieden had discussed the matter and that he is open to changing the law. (AP)