Legislative Advocacy

August 31, 2014

Hon. Governor Edmund “Jerry” G. Brown, Jr.
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: 916-558-3160

Re: PLEASE SIGN AB 1898 (CHERYL BROWN): REPORTING OF HIV COINFECTIONS

Dear Governor Brown:

The Board of Directors of Beyond AIDS requests that you sign AB 1898, to permit the reporting and communication of information of HIV co-infections with viral hepatitis or meningococci, among public health staff and between them and the care provider.

Beyond AIDS is a national organization, founded and led from California, dedicated to prevention of HIV/AIDS infections. Some of our leading members are public health and infectious disease physicians who have professional expertise on this subject. Since its beginning in 1998, Beyond AIDS has advocated reporting to public health of information that can assist with surveillance of the epidemic’s trends, as well as facilitating proper referral to care and services.

Section 121025 of the Health and Safety Code limits reporting and disclosure of cases of HIV/AIDS co-infection to tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia. AB 1898 will expand this provision to include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and meningococcal infection. This expansion will ensure that public health agencies have access to data from health providers on individual diseases as well as co-infection with HIV.

I am a certified HIV/AIDS specialist, as are others in our organization. I have treated quite a few patients who have HIV infections complicated by concurrent hepatitis B or C co-infections. When I worked at Patton State Hospital, almost half of patients with HIV also had hepatitis C. One of my HIV patients died from liver failure from hepatitis B. These patients with hepatitis coinfections are the ones that still have the highest morbidity and mortality in my HIV practice and many others, and they require special care with complex coordination. Communication to and from the local health department would be helpful in managing these patients.

The confidentiality laws regarding HIV were never intended to obstruct optimal medical care. AB 1898 removes an obstacle to reporting and communication of an important aspect of many complex cases.

Sincerely,

Ron Hattis, MD, MPH
President, Beyond AIDS
Mobile: 909-838-4157

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