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Eric Whitaker, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on Tuesday announced that Illinois will begin in January tracking cases of HIV by name rather than alphanumeric code in response to mounting federal pressure to bring its HIV surveillance system in line with those operating in most other states, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago reports.
"The federal government has made the decision rather simple: Switch to name-based reporting or lose millions of dollars for essential HIV care, prevention, and housing programs," said Mark Ishaug, AFC executive director. "IDPH is facing this new challenge responsibly by bringing together stakeholders to ensure that every effort is made to protect client confidentiality and promote acceptance of HIV testing and care services."
AFC will serve on a task force convened by IDPH to review internal systems and assist the state in developing and communicating how HIV surveillance will operate in the future.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pressuring all states to adopt names-based HIV reporting, which it considers a more accurate and consistent collection method than codes-based systems. The CDC has refused to integrate data from 13 states using codes-based reporting into its national HIV projections. At least 10 of the 13 regions without names-based reporting, including the states of California, Massachusetts, and Washington and the city of Philadelphia, are in the process of switching to names-based reporting systems. (Advocate.com)