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Washington State
groups oppose change to name-based HIV reporting

Washington State
groups oppose change to name-based HIV reporting

AIDS advocacy groups in Washington state are protesting a planned change from code-based HIV case reporting to name-based reporting, saying tracking HIV patients by name may lead to accidental release of confidential medical information and discourage people from seeking HIV antibody tests, The Seattle Times reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepts data only from name-based systems because the agency believes the information to be more accurate that data gathered through code-based methods. Beginning next year, some federal Ryan White AIDS funding will be linked with the statistics provided by the CDC, and regions that do not use name-based reporting could lose out on millions in federal dollars. Washington state could lose a significant portion of its Ryan White funds if it does not switch to name-based HIV reporting, according to Jack Jourden, director of infectious diseases for the Washington health department.

But AIDS advocates say switching to a statewide name-based HIV reporting system could threaten the confidentiality of HIV patients. "There's no guarantee the name-based system will be any better than the [code-based] reporting," Tina Podlodowski, executive director of the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, told the Times. "All it does is increase the risk of names getting out." Other AIDS advocates say name-based reporting could discourage people who have never been tested for HIV antibodies from being tested for fear that their names would be released if they were found to be HIV-positive.

Public hearings on the proposed change to a name-based HIV reporting system in the state are scheduled for December in Seattle and Spokane. (

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