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 PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- "The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium strongly opposes any reporting of HIV status to any public entity including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Health," announced the Rev. James H. Littrell, the consortium's executive director, to a crowd gathered to demonstrate for increased AIDS prevention, treatment and care funds today at City Hall.
 This was a World AIDS Day commemoration.
 A proposed regulation requiring the mandatory reporting of people with HIV was issued for comment in late September by the state Department of Health. One suggested form of reporting in the proposal would be by name of infected person.
 "Our position is that requiring any further reporting is bad public policy and a waste of precious funds badly needed to meet the rising costs of this epidemic," said Littrell. "In the absence of better protections than are now available, reporting in a way that identifies or makes it possible to identify individuals is an incredible risk to the confidential status of people living with HIV."
 The City of Philadelphia now requires the reporting by name of people diagnosed with AIDS. Aggregate totals are reported to the state.
 "Furthermore," Littrell continued, "a system such as that proposed by the state will cost a fortune that we badly need on the frontlines of the war against AIDS, preventing its spread and caring for those affected."
 In 1991, the Commonwealth cut AIDS care funds by $2 million while increasing taxes and adding funds to many other health and welfare programs.
 "That cut cost us lives. Hundreds of people could not learn more about how to stop HIV infection, and people are dying on waiting lists because we don't have funds in our communities to support treatment and care."
 "What we need are not more lists. We need dollars to fight back against the epidemic. The Commonwealth's response to date is a shame to every citizen of Pennsylvania," Littrell concluded.
 The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium is the regional HIV Planning Council for the five-county metropolitan area. Its board of 67 people represents a cross-section of the community and is the locus for regional AIDS coordination and planning. The board voted to oppose reporting at its meeting of Nov. 18, 1991.
 Following is the policy of The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium in response to the request for comment entitled "Making HIV Infection Reportable" issued by the Bureau of HIV/AIDS of the Department of Health, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on Sept. 26, 1991:
 1. The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium strongly opposes any reporting of HIV status to any public entity, including, and specifically, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Health.
 2. No matter the safeguards, making HIV reportable in any way will have a chilling effect on individuals' decisions to seek testing. Since we strongly encourage testing, we oppose any activity which will inhibit or discourage this activity.
 3. While the HIV becomes increasingly epidemic throughout the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth's and Department of Health's investment in responding to the epidemic has been deplorable. There is no reason to use scarce resources to establish and maintain an HIV reportability system. Should the Commonwealth require reporting of HIV at any level, it must, concomitantly, allocate new funds for services needed by people living with HIV as well as new funds to support the reporting system. A reporting system must not be supported with scarce HIV prevention, education, treatment, and care funds now available or needed to meet new needs as the epidemic grows.
 4. The Commonwealth has enough information on this epidemic, especially on the growth and distribution of AIDS cases. Its response to date has been to cut Health Department funding for prevention, education, and care activities.
 Adopted by the board of directors, The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium, Nov. 18, 1991.
 -0- 12/2/91
 /CONTACT: The Rev. James H. Littrell, executive director of The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium, 215-985-6200/ CO: The Philadelphia AIDS Consortium ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MK-LJ -- PH023 -- 8477 12/02/91 15:50 EST
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Date:Dec 2, 1991

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