Controversial HIV ‘contract’ topic of Ingham Commissioners meeting

By | 2007-09-13T09:00:00-04:00 September 13th, 2007|Uncategorized|

Capitol Correspondent

LANSING– The use of a document by the Ingham County Health Department
during post test counseling for those who have tested positive for HIV
will be the subject of a meeting of the Ingham County Board of
Commissioners on Monday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Human Services Building on
South Cedar Street.
Ingham County Health Department director Dr. Dean Seinko wrote in an
editorial Thursday that the use of the document has been ended.
But a spokesperson for the county, Natasha Davidson, could not
immediately confirm this, nor could she confirm when the new policy
was implemented.
The document had HIV positive persons sign off that they would contact
past sexual partners and needle sharing partners within four weeks of the date
of the document, as well as agree to follow the HIV felony disclosure
Between The Lines reported at least one HIV positive person had been
told he/she “needed” to sign the document.
The Michigan Department of Community Health has called the document
Seinko’s editorial claims the department no longer asks HIV positive
individuals to sign the document, rather the counselor makes a note
confirming the client has been informed of their legal obligations.
Just what happens to those counseling notes, or for that matter the 17
years worth of accumulated signed “contracts” is still not clear.
Davidson could not immediately confirm what the ICHD would do with
In a response to 19 questions from BTL, deputy health officer for
Ingham County, Dr. Renee Canaday, said the documents were kept in the
individual client charts.
Kendra Kleber, an Royal Oak attorney in private practice that
specializes in HIV law, has expressed outrage and concern about the
document. “Its’ great they changed it but there are some other
concerns that need to be addressed.”
Kleber outlined the concern about where the counseling notes are kept,
noting that keeping files which include the names of HIV positive
persons within a health department’s jurisdiction is not legal.
“Are they keeping files, because they are obviously not allowed?” she
asked. “Somewhere there is a stack of papers with the names of people
who are hiv positive sitting around. The editorial does not address
that particular concern. It is implicit the document is being stored
or kept.”
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