board of health has voted unanimously to scrap
codes-based HIV reporting in the city and adopt the same
names-based system used in the remainder of the state,
Philadelphia Gay News reports. The city had
refused to adopt a names-based system that took effect in
the remainder of Pennsylvania in October 2002, and in
March 2004 it received permission from the state
health department to temporarily use a codes-based system.
Activists opposed the names-based system amid privacy
concerns for those testing positive for HIV infection
and worries that it would deter city residents from
being screened for HIV infection.
health officials say the decision to review the codes-based
system was prompted in part by a letter from the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging all
codes-based reporting programs in the country be
replaced with names-based systems because of their
improved accuracy. Federal agencies also are expected to
begin tying allocation of federal HIV prevention and
treatment funds to data gathered from names-based
reporting systems around the county by 2007. States and
municipalities that continue to use codes-based systems
could lose out on federal funding.
health department has scheduled a meeting for August 30
to gather public opinion on the switch to names-based HIV
case reporting. Currently, the change to names-based
reporting is scheduled for this fall, following a
30-day public commentary period.