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ACLU demands that
San Francisco clinic not report names of HIV testers

ACLU demands that
San Francisco clinic not report names of HIV testers

ACLU says San Francisco City Clinic wrongly tells HIV testers their names won't be reported

The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday sent a letter to the San Francisco Department of Public Health demanding that the San Francisco City Clinic stop misleading people being tested for HIV antibodies. A new state law that went into effect on April 17 requires all health care providers and laboratories to report names of individuals with HIV to the local health department, yet the City Clinic, run by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, has been telling people taking the HIV test that their names would not be reported to the state if they test positive. The ACLU is demanding that the health department not report the names of those deceived.

"Being diagnosed with HIV still comes with huge consequences," said Tamara Lange, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU AIDS Project, in a press statement. "If the Department of Public Health really wants to encourage people to find out their status and get treatment, the last thing they should be doing is giving people false information. This is exactly the kind of deception that makes people scared of getting tested."

The ACLU says it became aware of the problem after a local resident went to the City Clinic to be tested on May 26. Prior to the test, the resident was asked to sign a consent form that stated his name would not be reported if he turned out to be positive. The resident signed the form and went ahead with the testing. He later notified the ACLU because he was aware of the new law requiring the reporting of names of people who test positive.

The resident, who prefers to remain anonymous, also alerted the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Jeffrey Klausner of the claims being made at City Clinic, says the ACLU. But, as of Friday, the City Clinic Web site still says that the names of those testing positive for HIV will not be turned over to the state, according to the ACLU.

The letter sent by the ACLU to the Department of Public Health demands that the department agree to immediately begin giving people accurate information about HIV antibody testing and to not turn over to the state the names of any HIV-positive person who relied on the guarantee of confidentiality in the City Clinic's consent form. (The Advocate)

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