1987 February 11

California Debates AIDS Privacy Issues


Facing estimates of 50,000 AIDS cases and 34,000 AIDS-related deaths by 1991, the State of California engaged in a debate on this day over AIDS prevention measures and privacy rights. The state confidentiality law, passed in 1985, required officials to obtain written permission before administering a blood test to detect the presence of the AIDS virus. A study of anonymous blood samples of women who had applied for a marriage license (names and other identifiers were deleted in the study) found that 1 in 200 tested positive for the AIDS virus. Blood tests for marriage licenses to detect syphilis and rubella were required by state law. Some public health experts argued that broader testing for AIDS was needed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Don’t miss: David France, How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of  How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS (1916)

Learn more about the law and people living with HIV/AIDS: http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/your-legal-rights/civil-rights/

Learn more about women with HIV/AIDS: http://womenshealth.gov/hiv-aids/living-with-hiv-aids/your-rights-as-a-woman-with-hiv-aids.html

Learn more at a  timeline on HIV/AIDS: http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/aids-timeline/

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