Idaho Statutes

39-609.  Declaration of policy. The legislature hereby declares that infection with human immunodeficiency virus, the virus which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), is an infectious and communicable disease that endangers the population of this state. The legislature further declares that reporting of HIV infection to public health officials is essential to enable a better understanding of the disease, the scope of exposure, the impact on the community, and the means of control and that efforts to control the disease should include public education, counseling, and voluntary testing and that restrictive enforcement measures should be used only when necessary to protect the public health. It is hereby declared to be the policy of this state that an effective program of preventing AIDS must maintain the confidentiality of patient information and restrict the use of such information solely to public health requirements. This confidentiality is essential so that infected persons are encouraged to reveal their condition to persons who have a legitimate need to know in order that they may assist the patient. Conversely, there is a need for certain individuals to know of the patient’s condition so that they may be protected from the disease or protect themselves and others closely associated with them or with the patient. The legislature believes that the balancing of the need to know by certain individuals in relationship to the need to maintain confidentiality to encourage reporting is essential to control the spread of the disease. This balancing cannot be fully codified in statutory law and must be left to the judgment and discretion of public health officials. If in the judgment of public health authorities an imminent danger to the public health exists due to an individual having a disease enumerated in section 39-601, Idaho Code, public health authorities shall take such action as is authorized in this chapter and as is necessary to prevent danger to the public health. Persons who have a legitimate need to know may include health care personnel, doctors, nurses, dentists, persons providing emergency medical services, morticians, lab technicians and school authorities. This is not intended to limit the usual and customary exchange of information between health care providers.

[39-609, added 1988, ch. 45, sec. 5, p. 52; am. 1990, ch. 143, sec. 3, p. 322.]

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