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Philadelphia will
adopt names-based HIV reporting

Philadelphia will
adopt names-based HIV reporting

The Philadelphia 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.

Philadelphia 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.

The Philadelphia 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.

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