Mayor Announces Decision to Implement Unique Identifier System
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GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
ONE JUDICIARY SQUARE
441 FOURTH STREET, N.W.
SUITE 1100
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001
(202)727-6224

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 20, 1999
CONTACT: Vera Jackson
Peggy Armstrong
(202)727-5011

Mayor Announces Decision to Implement Unique Identifier System
System will assure confidentiality and provide information to track epidemic

(Washington, D.C.) Mayor Anthony A. Williams today announced his decision to implement a "Unique Identifier" system that will be designed to protect the confidentiality of people being tested for HIV. This system will use codes to record and track cases of HIV/AIDS to provide public health officials with critical information to target HIV prevention efforts.

"After consultation with a broad cross section of our community, I believe this is the best system for our large and diverse city. It recognizes very real fears of discrimination and will not discourage individuals from seeking testing," said Mayor Williams. "I call on all members of the community to work with us in the weeks and months ahead to help design a system that will be a national public health model."

The Mayor is confident that District health officials can create a system that meets the Centers for Disease Control funding requirements. Health officials are consulting with CDC officials and representatives of other jurisdictions to develop an effective unique identifier system.

Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of new AIDS cases per capita in the nation. The disease is growing fastest among youth, African American women, Latinos and heterosexuals. The District currently does not track HIV/AIDS cases, making it difficult to monitor the progression of the disease and to target prevention and education efforts.

Joining the Mayor at the announcement at La Clinica del Pueblo were Dr. Ivan Walks, incoming Director of Health; Bob Cosby, Executive Director of the Nonprofit Clinic Consortium, and members of the Council.

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[GLAA note: Welcoming the Mayor at the press conference was Dr. Juan Romagoza of la Clínica del Pueblo. Councilmembers David Catania and Jack Evans also spoke. The Mayor read a supportive statement from Councilmember Jim Graham, who was out of town. Those in attendance applauding the announcement included leaders of GLAA, ACT UP Washington, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, and Transgenders Against Discrimination and Defamation.]


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