Simmons: Political agenda blocks HIV name reporting (The Washington Blade) 10/26/01
Ambrose calls for hearing on HIV Unique Identifier Amendment Act
Hon. Sandy Allen, Chair
Committee on Human Services
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
I am writing to request you schedule a hearing this fall on Bill 14-326, the "HIV Unique Identifier System Amendment Act of 2001". As you know, I am a co-introducer of this legislation, and I believe it is important to move forward on this legislation this year so that we can assure the residents of the District that their medical records will remain private.
Confidentiality in HIV testing is an important tool in attracting people to take the proactive step of learning their HIV status. Systems which do not preserve that confidentiality are a deterrent to people getting tested -- a disastrous result. Unfortunately, there is still too often a stigma attached to HIV and AIDS, and that hurdle cannot be overcome without the assurances that medical records will remain private. HIV testing can also play an important educational role for people -- in the testing environment people are often counseled about safer sex guidelines and other harm reduction techniques, and testing can serve as an entry point of access into the medical care system itself. I believe a unique identifier system will both give people the confidence they need in their medical records and thus encourage HIV testing, and provide the District with the important demographic data we need to track the course of the epidemic.
I hope you will schedule a hearing on this measure and work with the proponents of the legislation to enact this legislation this fall, and thank you for all you have done to lead the District's fight against HIV/AIDS.
Councilmember - Ward 6
cc: Councilmember Phil Mendelson