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Article
October 21, 1983

'Confidentiality' issues may cloud epidemiologic studies of AIDS

JAMA. 1983;250(15):1945-1946. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340150003001

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Abstract

Charges of breach of confidentiality have led the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to try to develop a coding system for reports on patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) so that patient names will not have to be used.

"We hope this will allow us to keep tabs on individual cases," said James R. Allen, MD, of the CDC's AIDS Task Force. "It's a compromise—the best available to us under the circumstances."

The CDC denies it has released confidential information to nonhealth agencies but does concede that on at least three occasions it has released lists of names of AIDS victims to local health agencies not affiliated with the federal government.

In one instance, names were released to the New York Blood Center in connection with a follow-up study on whether AIDS had developed in persons who received the hepatitis B vaccine. The vaccine is made from the plasma

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