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Since 1995, Oregonians living with HIV infection have experienced remarkable improvements in health due to access to highly effective HIV medication. The result has been a dramatic decrease in deaths due to AIDS and a similar decrease in AIDS cases. One consequence of these tremendous advances is that AIDS case reporting no longer accurately reflects the impact of the epidemic. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control, the Surgeon General, and many community partners advocated expanding reporting to include persons with HIV infection. In response to these recommendations, DHS Health Services undertook an extensive, four-year process of developing an HIV reporting system.
The key components of the system are:
DHS Health Services is monitoring the impact of the changes in reporting on HIV testing, and will work with the community to increase access to HIV testing. All breaches of confidentiality in the public health HIV reporting and services programs will be reported to the DHS Health Services along with the outcomes of these events. Finally, DHS Health Services will work with community partners to strengthen current medical privacy laws and the consequences for breaches of confidentiality. DHS Health Services believes that this system represents public health “best practice” and will result in improved understanding of the HIV epidemic allowing more cost-effective use of the state's HIV prevention resources. It will not increase the risk of loss of privacy. Finally, this system is specifically designed to encourage person with HIV to enter care early in the disease in order to take best advantage of HIV medications.
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