6 Jan 2011

Cooks committee urges privacy in HIV case

7:17 pm on 6 January 2011

The Cook Islands National HIV Committee says it strongly opposes the release of any information regarding a person living with HIV in the country.

Its statement follows a decision by the government to seek legal advice over identifying a Rarotonga resident who is HIV positive.

Jo O'Brien reports

"The HIV committee says it's held an emergency meeting, where a unanimous decision was reached to maintain the confidentiality of any person diagnosed with HIV. Representatives at the meeting from organisations including the Health Ministry, Red Cross, the National Council of Women, the Family Welfare Association, the National Youth Council and the NZAID programme, expressed serious concern about the alleged breach of confidentiality. The committee says it regrets the impact the breach may have on those who may be considering volunteering for testing, and reiterated that all testing is 100 percent confidential. It says names are never used when testing for HIV, and that a coding system is kept in a secure facility, outside of the Health Ministry's computer system."