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Failing the Test; AIDS Policy Ignores Family Planning

By the mid-1990s, public health officials in the United States had become concerned that women of child-bearing years were at risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Yet family planning agencies were slow to react to the needs of these vulnerable clients. Mandatory name reporting of people being tested for HIV was thought to drive people underground and away from access to prevention strategies.

A story in November - December issue of the 1994 New Jersey Reporter examined these issues in a state which then ranked fifth in the nation for the number of people with AIDS.

The conflict between state health departments, who, for the most part, identified people by name when they were tested, and advocates for people with HIV/AIDS, which generally wanted unique identifiers used, was thought at one point to have thwarted the fight against the disease.