AIDS: Senate Defeats Names-Based HIV-Reporting Bill
The California Senate Health and Human Services Committee defeated a bill Wednesday that would have required name-based reporting for HIV-positive individuals, a move that brought praise from AIDS advocates who further pressed for passage of a bill that would rely on unique-identifier codes to report cases of HIV (San Francisco AIDS Foundation release, 5/12). Sponsored by state Sen. Ray Haynes (R), SB 1029 would have required the state Department of Health Services to "develop and implement a uniform statewide reporting system, partner notification and contact tracing system employing name-based identifiers for persons testing positive for HIV" (SB 1029 text). However, AIDS advocates contend that names-based reporting deters high risk groups, such as gay men and intravenous drug users, from being tested, and have long supported efforts by Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D) to pass legislation requiring the use of a unique-identifier code to track HIV. Although an identical bill was vetoed last year by former Gov. Pete Wilson (R), Migden's bill, AB 103, was passed out of the appropriations subcommittee on March 23 and contains no partner notification provision (AB103 text). SFAF Policy Director Regina Aragon said that name-based reporting is not necessary for partner notification, and said that it "could, in fact, undermine such efforts by making individuals less likely to disclose such information." She added, "Given the continued discrimination and stigmatization associated with HIV disease, public health efforts can only be successful if they maintain public trust. For this reason, names-based reporting must be rejected" (SFAF release, 5/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.