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The California assembly's health committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would switch HIV reporting in the state from a codes-based system to recording the cases by name. The bill has already cleared the state senate by a unanimous vote, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will sign it if also approved by the assembly, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
California's current codes-based HIV reporting system, launched in 2002, uses alphanumeric codes instead of HIV patients' names to track the disease in the state. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers codes-based systems to be inaccurate and will later this year begin tying AIDS grants to data from names-based reporting systems. California could lose up to $50 million in federal AIDS funds if it does not switch to a names-based system.
The bill, introduced by state senator Nell Soto, a Democrat, would give Schwarzenegger's administration up to one year to create the framework for the names-based HIV reporting system. It also creates penalties for anyone who discloses the confidential patient information recorded by patient name.
The full assembly is expected to approve the bill before the end of the month. (Advocate.com)