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State may change AIDS tracking system

California could soon change the way it tracks HIV patients. The State Senate has just unanimously approved a measure that would adopt a confidential names-based reporting system for HIV. The bill now moves on to the Assembly. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Currently California uses an alpha-numeric code to track people who test positive for HIV. But health officials say that method is outmoded and can lead to inaccurate data collection. And starting this fall, the federal government will penalize states that don't have a more reliable HIV reporting system.

Ged Kenslea is with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Kenslea: "It's a step towards more prudent public health. Really in order to do good public health tracking, you need to have accurate names, and ways to trace people if need be."

The measure to change California's system would still allow anonymous HIV testing. It would also create penalties for those who violate patients' confidentiality. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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