Introduction

The AIDS Confidentiality Act is an Illinois statute that establishes a privacy standard for the ordering and administration of HIV testing, counseling, and dissemination of test results. The statute is intended to serve the public health by promoting and encouraging greater use of voluntary HIV testing by members of the public through a greater level of health information privacy and confidentiality of patients that are HIV-positive.

Applicability

The AIDS Confidentiality Act applies to “HIV-related information.” The term means the identity of a person upon whom an HIV test is performed, the results of an HIV test, as well as diagnosis, treatment, and prescription information that reveals a patient is HIV-positive. However, when the information has been de-identified, it is excluded from the requirements of the statute.

Requirements

The statute provides three primary provisions—anonymity, confidentiality, and informed consent. The statute establishes the right of an individual, seeking an HIV test, to take an anonymous test implemented through a coded system that does not link individual identity with the request, or the result. The confidentiality provision states that no person may disclose or be compelled to disclose HIV-related information. Ans lastly, health care providers are required to provide pre-testing information and receive the informed consent of the patient before ordering a HIV test.

Enforcement & Liability

Any person harmed by a violation of this statute has a private right of action in the Illinois circuit court to recover damages. The statute is otherwise enforced by the Illinois Attorney General.

Penalties

An intentional or reckless violation of the statute is subject to the criminal penalties of a Class A misdemeanor. A civil action for the same conduct will allow liquidated damages of $10,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater. A less severe negligent violation will allow for liquidated damages of $2,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater. A plaintiff may also be entitled to reasonable attorney fees, injunction, and other relief as the court may deem appropriate.