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Reporting of HIV Testing

John R. Harkess, MD; Gregory R. Istre, MD
JAMA. 1990;263(1):36-37. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440010034018.
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To the Editor.—  In recent letters to the editor, Kegeles et al1 and Fordyce et al2 reported that many homosexual men enrolled in a longitudinal study in San Francisco, Calif, and some black and Hispanic clients attending sexually transmitted disease clinics in New York, NY, said they would refuse human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing if their name and test result were reported to the public health department. The authors imply that because of these client concerns about disease reporting, HIV infections should not be reportable to the health department. We disagree with this implication.Public health departments have a strong record of maintaining confidentiality. The unwarranted fear of disclosure from HIV reporting must be separated from the very real possibility of breaches of confidentiality that can occur in medical care settings, from friends or family members, or in other ways. Breaches of confidentiality as a result


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