NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

CDC Wants Names On HIV Reports

December 10, 1999

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants the names of people who test positive for the AIDS virus to be reported to state and local authorities. Final guidelines released yesterday by the agency faulted the use of coded identifiers which many states use in place of names.

The guidelines are designed to encourage states to develop effective systems to track the course of the HIV epidemic and develop treatment and prevention programs.

  • Thirty-four states already require the reporting of names of people with HIV -- but the names are removed before the data are given to the CDC.
  • Four other states use coded identifiers.
  • But a number of big states -- including California, New York and Pennsylvania -- haven't implemented either system yet.
  • CDC says it will continue to fund HIV reporting programs using coded identifiers -- but after that programs that don't meet its standards face a loss of federal funding.

The agency claims that reports using Social Security numbers as identifiers, for example, are often incomplete and difficult to use to conduct follow-up interviews in specific cases.

AIDS activists warn, however, that a names-based system will be a deterrent to people getting tested

Source: Laurie McGinley, "U.S. Urges Use of Names in HIV Reports," Wall Street Journal, December 10, 1999.


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