Residents who use two of the Public Health Department's clinics may unknowingly be tested for AIDS under a program seeking to find out the prevalance of exposure to the deadly virus.
Long Beach is one of 13 jurisdictions in the state that will participate in the "blind testing" program developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control, said Michael Parker, the Health Department's administrative officer.
Patients who have blood samples taken in the prenatal clinic or the sexually transmitted disease clinic will be tested for the AIDS virus. But because all identification is removed from the samples, authorities will not be able to track down an individual if he or she has contracted the virus.
The anonymity ensures confidentiality, Parker said. In addition, patients are strongly urged to be tested for AIDS if they suspect they are ill or if they belong to one of the groups in which the disease is most prevalent, Parker said.