Graham calls HIV reporting plan "counterproductive"
Related Links

Mendelson Criticizes Proposed HIV Reporting Rules 01/03/01

DOH's Ron Lewis responds to GLAA on HIV reporting 12/22/00

ACLU defends privacy in HIV reporting 12/21/00

GLAA criticizes proposed HIV reporting regulations 12/20/00

Testimony for FY 2001 Budget Hearings on Department of Health 03/24/00

CDC Guidelines for National HIV Case Surveillance 01/20/00

Mayor Announces Decision to Implement Unique Identifier System 08/20/99

Eleven of Thirteen Councilmembers Oppose HIV Names Reporting 07/27/99

Open Letter to Public Health Officials Regarding Names-Based HIV Reporting 03/15/99

GLAA on AIDS and Public Health

Graham calls HIV reporting plan "counterproductive"

JIM GRAHAM
Councilmember, Ward One
Council of the District of Columbia
441 4th Street, N.W., Suite 718
Washington, DC 20001
202-724-8181
202-724-8109 fax

December 28, 2000

Ivan C. A. Walks, M.D.
Director of Health
825 North Capital Street, N.W. Suite 4400
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Dr. Walks:

I am writing you on a matter of utmost concern. It has come to my attention that the Health Department has plans to adopt a "Unique Identifier System" that includes social security numbers in reporting HIV infection for surveillance purposes. I urge you to reconsider that plan.

It has been my considerable experience that this approach will be counterproductive to our efforts. As you are aware, the issues related to HIV are very complex and go beyond being tested for the virus, though encouraging residents to be tested is a beginning. However, suggesting that in any way that such tests would be anything except totally confidential will have a negative effect on the number of persons willing to be tested.

In addition, there are a number of other significant drawbacks:

(1) Foreign born persons will not have a social security number.
(2) People often forget or mis-remember their social security number.
(3) It would be a violation of District law and the spirit of the law, which in addition to protecting the public at large, is also intended to protect those who test positive.

It is my belief that your current plan of action would jeopardize whatever gains the District has made in controlling this deadly disease. I would also point out that those jurisdictions that have tried using social security numbers, now regret it.

Again, I urge you to reconsider your plan to use social security numbers as case identifiers. Numeric codes would allow the District to continue tracking this horrible disease and protect the public at large.

Sincerely,

Jim Graham


pageok