State Error Discloses Identity of AIDS Program Members
The Department of Health Services on Friday announced that up to 53 names and addresses of members of California's AIDS Drug Assistance Program mistakenly were revealed to other enrollees through a mailing error, the Los Angeles Times reports.
DHS Director Sandra Shewry said the breach was discovered after members said they had received letters addressed to another person (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 3/3). ADAP helps pay for expensive HIV/AIDS medications and serves about 30,000 California residents (Feder, Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 3/3).
The Legislature last year voted to change the HIV database from alphanumeric codes to patient names, a change the state was slow to implement partly because of concerns about patient privacy (Los Angeles Times, 3/3). New federal rules that took effect in fall 2006 required the state to make the change or lose $50 million in federal funds for HIV/AIDS-related programs (California Healthline, 4/18/06).
HIV/AIDS services and advocacy groups said this was the first known breach of the database.
Lori Yeghiayan, spokesperson for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said the breach was an "unfortunate error" but not a systemwide failure (Los Angeles Times, 3/3).