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CA to change HIV tracking system

California will soon change the way it tracks the spread of HIV. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a measure that switches the state to a confidential names-based reporting system. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

California is one of only a handful of states that still use a code to track people who test positive for HIV. Federal health officials say that method is inaccurate. Later this year, the federal government will penalize states that don't track HIV patients by name.

Terry Cunningham directs HIV services for the San Diego County Department of Public Health. He says the old system was problematic.

Cunningham: We wouldn't be getting reports in a timely fashion, and wouldn't be able to track the disease as rapidly as we will now with names.

Cunningham says it will probably take about a year for California to covert to names-based reporting for HIV. In the meantime, AIDS continues to be reported by name. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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