PREVENT LOSS OF MEDICAL CONFIDENTIALITY LAWS
We, the undersignedopposed representatives of the:
PROPOSED CHANGES TO ARTICLE 27-F, THE AIDS CONFIDENTIALITY LAW:
CONSIDERATIONS IN THE DEBATE
According to the attached article, "New York City Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Thomas Frieden, recently proposed that Article 27-F of the Public Health Law be amended". The Commissioner’s proposes to:
Eliminate the current right of patients to written informed consent when taking an HIV test.
OBJECTION- By eliminating written informed consent concerning an HIV test, it may decrease the of number of individuals who seek an HIV test based on the lack of confidentiality and instability of where test results may end up. As HIV and testing carries heavy stimatization-people need to feel secure when deciding to be tested. This is in violation of federal privacy acts.
Eliminate all currently required pre-test counseling when giving an HIV test.
OBJECTION: pre-test counseling is a much needed service which educates the client, teaches about HIV/aids rights, discusses risky behaviors and addresses any concerns the person may have.
To eliminate pre-test counseling may lead to one walking away from an HIV test without accurate knowledge about the test and HIV, as well as behaviors associated with high risk.
Allow public health officers to receive patient medical information, and to use that information to contact patients and their doctors to discuss treatment.
OBJECTION-By putting the records of HIV test results into public health officers domain to utilize, basically as they wish, is a severe impedement upon the rights of the HIV positive individual's confidentiality. Public Health workers may breech confidentiality once they are given information. There is no need to discuss a specific patients care with a physician. Most physicians who work in the HIV field are highly trained doctors and they are up to date on the latest HIV information via seminars, trainings, inservices and special courses. there is no need for public health workers to become involved so closely with a patient at this level. This is a policy which seems to be aligned with our current social services reform, with possible future time limits, sanctions for not cooperating, or even threats to be cut off from services.
Further-once this type of "power" is shifted to a governmental level-there exists freedom to disclose status to whomever, whenever. Patient medical information should be kept under lock and key (as it is currently now) and disclousure or HIV status given ONLY WITH WRITTEN CONSENT FROM THE PATIENT. HIV information must stay within the designated clinic/doctor whom the patient CHOSES. Any public thoughts of leaking or disclosure of medical information, particularily HIV status, will cause a great DECREASE in the numbers of people who will be tested and will cause further fear, loss of rights and chaos in the lives of those who are HIV+. This is in direct violation of FEDERAL HIPAA LAWS.
We the undersigned OPPOSE the changes as proposed by Commisioner Frieden. While making it easier for the health industries, public health tracking, and the ability to ease into a policy of NO CONFIDENTIALITY later, HIV positive individuals may face in the future, a staus which is known to employers, family, friends, and such.
The rights of HIV positive individuals MUST BE PROTECTED. WE, the undersigned, OPPOSE THESE PROPOSED CHANGES.