All U.S. states and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2007 will begin recording HIV cases using names-based reporting systems rather than code-based reporting systems, the AP/Springfield State Journal Register reports.
Beginning this fiscal year, the funding formulas used by HHS to calculate Ryan White Program grants include only HIV data from states that use names-based reporting systems, the AP/Journal Register reports.
Vermont, Maryland and Hawaii are the only states not currently using a names-based reporting system to track HIV cases. CDC in 1999 endorsed names-based reporting and in 2005 recommended that states use names-based reporting systems.
Timothy Mastro, deputy director of CDC's Division for HIV/AIDS Prevention, said, "After many evaluations of code-based systems, it became clear that those systems do not meet CDC standards for HIV data." He added that syphilis, tuberculosis and AIDS cases are tracked by names-based systems.
The state is taking all measures to protect people's confidentiality. According to William Wong, medical director of the AIDS division of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the state's old code-based system, which assigned HIV-positive people a unique identification code, was "instituted to protect the people's confidentiality because of fears of stigmatization and potential disclosure to insurance companies and family members."
The state in 2006 began using a names-based system. Under the new system, staff members who have access to the database must take an oath of confidentiality and undergo special training. The names also are stored on a stand-alone computer system that is in a locked area, according to the AP/Journal Register.
A Vermont bill (SB 192) prohibits the storage or processing of any information that could identify HIV-positive people on network computers or laptops. The bill also allows civil lawsuits for malicious disclosure of such information, according to the AP/Journal Register.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation