HIV case reports must include names
Health care providers and laboratories now are required to name patients when reporting information to the state Department of Health on HIV cases.
Health Director Chiyome Fukino emphasized that HIV reports, like AIDS reports, "will be maintained at the highest levels of confidentiality and security, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for protecting personal HIV information."
Reporting of patients' names includes people diagnosed previously with HIV infection in Hawaii or elsewhere, as well as those newly diagnosed, the Health Department said in a news release.
Information on reportable diseases is required from health care providers and laboratories for public health purposes, it said.
AIDS cases have been reported by name in Hawaii since 1983 but HIV cases have been reported since 2003 with a code system known as the Unnamed Test.
Demographic, risk and other information also is required on the state's HIV/AIDS report form.
The Health Department said it has strict procedures to prevent access to the information, which is locked in a secured location. Names are not sent to the CDC or anywhere else and individual information isn't released, the agency said.
Peter Whiticar, chief of the STD/AIDS Prevention Branch, said, "The move to named HIV reporting has involved thoughtful and frank discussions involving the HIV community, the Community Planning Group and the Department of Health. We welcome this change based on community consensus."
All states are required to use names for HIV reporting under the federal Ryan White CARE Act to receive federal HIV/AIDS care funding, the Health Department said.
Reporting names for AIDS cases has been useful in determining resources needed for prevention and care services, it said.
A total of 3,011 AIDS cases had been reported by health providers as of the end of last year, the STD/AIDS Branch reported. Of those, 1,752 patients had died, it said.
Highly active anti-retroviral drugs used since 1996 have reduced the number of AIDS cases and deaths. HIV-infected patients are living longer without developing AIDS because of the medications.
Anonymous HIV testing is offered by the Health Department and collaborating agencies.