Life as an Extreme Sport

The Seattle Times: State may drop HIV encoding

The Seattle Times: Health: State may drop HIV encoding

Next month, state health officials likely will finalize a temporary rule that will no longer allow the names of some HIV patients to be encoded for extra security.

Though the change has been protested by advocacy groups, if the state Board of Health does not pass it by June 14, the state will lose as much as $5 million in federal money for a range of services for about 2,000 low-income AIDS patients, including drugs, food, housing and transportation.

Officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last summer that states must keep all HIV patients’ names to allow better tracking of the epidemic.

Mmm. I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it makes sense, and falls in line with the other new guidelines the CDC is attempting to put in place, testing all people having bloodwork done who’re between the ages of 13-64. And it’s not like Washington would be the only state not encoding the data.

On the other hand, it seems like it’s a gross violation of the privacy patients were guaranteed. Perhaps if the rule were that no new codings were allowed, I would feel comfortable with this, but at the moment, it seems like Washington is being forced by the CDC to engage in a giant game of backsies.