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'Dangerous Direction on AIDS': Gann-Dannemeyer Initiative

August 06, 1988

Your editorial is unadulterated disinformation. If the provisions of Proposition 102 are dangerous, then all other efforts to fight communicable disease in the state should likewise be labeled. Honestly ask yourself, if public health officials test with implied consent, confidentially report positive results, and conduct partner notification for other communicable venereal diseases, then why disregard these traditional procedures when it comes to AIDS?

Apologists for a radical course, such as the temporary leadership of the California Medical Assn., the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Gay Rights Advocates, can only defend this anomaly on political grounds.

Common sense and human decency cry out for physicians to encourage their patients to seek an early diagnosis of HIV infection so any opportunistic infections can be treated.

Your erroneous charge of "indiscriminate tracing" and "wholesale notification" not only reveals your innate lack of understanding of public health procedures, but it also magnifies your unprofessional attempt to incite fear in the public, much as if you shouted "LaRouche!" as the homosexuals do. This immature tactic is ludicrous.

The Times, militant homosexuals, ambulance-chasing lawyers and radicals at the top of the CMA do not want confidentiality protections for the infected. They want anonymity and nonaccountability. Does The Times really have the public's best interest at heart? If so, it will encourage the reconciliation of conflicting public health policies. Either treat all communicable venereal diseases as public health problems or treat them all, as you do AIDS, like a civil rights problem.

California currently reports all full-blown cases of AIDS to public health officials and yet we hear of no instances of breaches in confidentiality. Why will the confidential reporting of HIV infections change this state of affairs?



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