Victory at Last: Apache Activist Helps Pass HIV/AIDS Confidentiality Resolution

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 A resolution in support of the Public Health and Safety Code of the San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT) has passed that will directly impact the lives of Natives living with HIV/AIDS. According to SCAT HIV/AIDS Coalition Chair and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Anita L. Brock, this resolution should help curtail the spread of communicable infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS. It offers tribal members “the system needed to continuously address the threat such diseases pose to the San Carlos Apache community,” Brock says. “The implementation of such a Code supports enforcement of public health responsibilities and the authority needed to identify the risk factors associated with the spread of infectious disease.”

According to HIV/AIDS activist Isadore Boni, a SCAT member and key supporter of the resolution, passage of this resolution does much more: “HIV/AIDS confidentiality is now in our health codes.”

Boni explains that this resolution “allows the protection and confidentiality of public health information and patient privacy, especially for those who have been infected by HIV/AIDS.” Another key component of this resolution, according to Boni, is that it renders HIV testing optional for SCAT members. “There was talk of doing mandatory testing,” he says, “but I advocated against it.”