CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateMICHIGAN: Michigan's HIV Testing Scandal
March 7, 2013
Detroit News (03.06.13)
In researching alleged 2011 Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) data breaches, investigative reporter Todd Heywood discovered that MDCH “secretly collected” personal information—names, dates of birth, risk categories, and other demographic data—on people (and their partners) who went to government grant-funded organizations for confidential testing. Heywood reports that the state is using the private information in civil and criminal cases against HIV-infected people who present a “health threat.”
To learn about MDCH collection of confidential HIV testing information, Heywood submitted multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and he also asked to attend a March 6 mandatory meeting for all Michigan agencies that receive federal funding for HIV prevention and testing through MDCH grants. Although meeting organizers initially denied Heywood’s request because he is not a grantee, he eventually received permission to attend. Heywood states his 300-hour investigation has encompassed 60 e-mail interviews and phone calls, FOIA requests and appeals, and document review.