New State Law on HIV & AIDS Names Reporting
On April 17, 2006 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 699 (Soto), which requires health care providers and laboratories to report cases of HIV infection by name to local health departments. Prior to this new law there has been a code based system for HIV reporting since July 2002 and a name-based system for reporting AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. This new law ends the code-based HIV reporting system and allows continuation of HIV/AIDS CARE Act funds from the federal government.
The new reporting requirements took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature on April 17, 2006. Within 12 months the California Department of Health Services will be implementing emergency regulations governing name-based HIV reporting. Until the new regulations are in place, health care providers should continue to report confirmed HIV tests in accordance with the provisions of the California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Division 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter 1, Article 3.5, using California’s HIV/AIDS Case Report Form, with the following exceptions:
- Health care providers will no longer be required to assign a Soundex code for a patient’s surname or create a non-name Code to report HIV cases;
- Health care providers should now report confirmed HIV tests using the complete patient name to the local health department within seven calendar days of receiving a confirmed HIV test from a laboratory; and
- All test requisition forms accompanying any specimens transferred to a laboratory for HIV-related testing should now include the complete patient name.
Under the new law, enhanced civil and criminal penalties will be imposed for willful, malicious, or negligent disclosures of confidential HIV case information. Contra Costa County and the State Office of AIDS have long-established data security procedures in place to ensure that HIV/AIDS public health records are handled with the utmost confidentiality. The state HIV/AIDS Case Registry has been collecting AIDS case information including names for more than 20 years and has never had a breach of confidentiality.
Anonymous HIV testing continues to be available at some testing locations throughout Contra Costa. Contact the AIDS Program for specific site information 925-313-6771.
Additional information regarding the new reporting requirements is available on the State Office of AIDS web site www.dhs.ca.gov/AIDS
Updates will continue to be posted as the policies are updated.