State and federal laws prohibit the disclosure of a person’s HIV status, except in limited instances. Maintaining the privacy of a person’s HIV status is important because discrimination against people living with HIV is still pervasive. People will only get tested and treated for HIV if they know their test results and treatment records will be kept private.
Pennsylvania’s Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information Act (also known as Act 148) prohibits a health care provider or social service provider from sharing an individual’s HIV-related information without written permission, except in limited instances. Note: Act 148 was amended in July 2011. The amendments only affect the HIV-testing provisions of this law. The confidentiality sections remain unchanged.
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (known as HIPAA) establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. It applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. The Rule also gives rights to patients over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections. HIPAA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR). OCR Resolution agreements can be viewed here.