March 7, 2013
Controversy Over Confidential HIV Tests in Michigan
Since 2003, Michigan has been secretly storing personal information from people who get confidential HIV tests at federally funded locations, The American Independent reports. The database includes names, birthdates and risk categories, as well as coded identities of sexual and needle-sharing partners of people with HIV. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) says the database is needed to track the amount of tests done using federal grants, as well as to evaluate if testing programs for high-risk populations are effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it only requires anonymous demographic information. The state requires locations that receive grants to offer both anonymous and confidential tests. Anonymous tests use a code instead of a name, but they collect birthdates and ZIP codes. Confidential tests use a name and collect demographics but are not supposed to share that name unless a person tests positive, which leads to the name being shared with MDCH. Advocates say the database raises concerns about privacy and civil liberties.
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