Groups Allege California Agency Shared HIV Patient Data
"California health officials violated state privacy laws by giving personal information about thousands of HIV-positive welfare recipients to a nonprofit group that serves people infected with the virus, three legal groups alleged Thursday.
"The ACLU of Northern California, Lambda Legal and the AIDS Legal Services Alliance fired off an angry letter to California Department of Health Care Services director David Maxwell-Jolly demanding an explanation for what the groups termed 'a gross affront' to patient confidentiality...
"Lambda Legal staff attorney Peter Renn said state officials should not have assumed it was proper to give confidential information to the foundation any more than it would have been to release it to a group hostile to people with AIDS.
"'There isn't an exception in the privacy laws simply because someone might think the third party would be friendly to the patient,' Renn said. 'Would we want the government giving out home phone numbers of people with depression to the makers of Prozac or people with erectile dysfunction to the makers of Viagra?'"