When should HIV results be reported?
Georgia statute identifies HIV and AIDS as disease of public health importance and requires both health care providers and laboratories to report new cases and subsequent lab tests of HIV and AIDS within 7 days.
Who reports and What is reported?
Reporting as a HIV/AIDS healthcare provider
According to Georgia's law notifiable disease reporting, healthcare facilitites providing HIV/AIDS care and testing should report any new patients to their facility (including referrals and people you may have previously reported), any patient updates (change of address, name, pregnancy status, and or gender), and any new clinical status' (new AIDS status or AIDS defining illnesses) within seven (7) days. An Adult Case Report Form should be filled out for individuals age 13+ and mailed (and electronic ACRF will be available on SENDSS in 2015), or you can call the HIV/STD Epidemiology Section at 1-800-827-9769. For ages <13, please use the Pediatric Case Report Form.
These forms can be completed by a physician, infectious disease practitioner, case worker, or any designated representative of the healthcare facility. Patients should not complete this form.
Reporting as a laboratory
According to Georgia's notifiable disease reporting law, all tests indicative of HIV infection are reportable. These include positive antigen/antibody combination immunoassays, HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody differentiation assays, EIAs, Western Blots, HIV nucleic acid tests, detectable and undetectable viral load tests, and all CD4 counts and percent's. Negative HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody differentiation assays (e.g. Multispot) are also reportable when they are part of a testing sequence that ultimately identifies a confirmed HIV infection (acute infection). Reports should be made within seven (7) days.
How and Where can results be reported?
Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR)
Core HIV/AIVDS Surveillance prefers to process electronic lab reports. Files in HL7 (versions 2.3.1 and 2.5.1) and Excel file formats are accepted. These files can be uploaded to Georgia's Department of Public Health secure FTP disease reporting system called SENDSS (State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System). A user login and password can be assigned by our SENDSS Coordinator and HL7 assistance can also be provided (see below in Related Files for the SENDSS Registration and Login Manual).
For assistance with the HL7 standard for electronic lab reporting please contact Kim Dial, HL7 specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-463-0412.
To create a SENDSS authorized user account please contact Angela Alexander, SENDSS Administrator, email@example.com or 404-657-6450.
Snail mail is the second option. Please do NOT write HIV or AIDS on the envelope. Results must be double enveloped and addressed to:
(Please Do NOT Write HIV or AIDS on Envelope)
Why is HIV reported?
All medical providers or other organizations offering confidential HIV testing or providing care to HIV-positive patients should report positive cases to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Laboratories are also required to report tests indicative of HIV infection (O.C.G.A. § 24-9-47, § 31-22-9.2, and Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia Chapter 290-5-48.11).
The HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Section is authorized under Georgia Surveillance Law (O.C.G.A. §31-12-1) to conduct notifiable disease surveillance of HIV and AIDS. Public health surveillance activities are not subject to HIPPA restrictions.
Georgia has a dual reporting system that legally requires HIV/AIDS reporting by both health care providers and laboratories (O.C.G.A. §31-12-2(b)). All health care providers diagnosing and/or providing care to a patient with HIV have the obligation to report them using a CDC or Georgia HIV/AIDS Case Report Form (i.e. Adult Case Report Form/ACRF or Pediatric Case Report Form/PCRF). Case report forms have to be completed within seven (7) days of diagnosing a patient with HIV and/or AIDS or within seven (7) days of assuming care of an HIV positive patient who is new to the provider, regardless of whether the patient has previously received care elsewhere. All laboratories certified and licensed by the State of Georgia are required to report laboratory test results indicative of HIV infection, such as positive Western Blot results, all detectable and undetectable viral loads, all CD4 counts, and all viral nucleotide sequence results.
See below in the Related Files section for ACRFs and PCRFs files.
Confidentiality and HIPAA
All state HIV/AIDS surveillance programs are required to meet security standards set forth by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Access to confidential information is limited to authorized staff. All employees sign a confidentiality statement with criminal penalties for breaches. Individuals' names are not shared with anyone including federal agencies, immigration, insurance companies, employers, school officials, or family members of the person with HIV.
HIV/AIDS reports to DPH are exempt from HIPAA's privacy rule. The rule states that disclosure of patient health information without the authorization of the individual is permitted for purposes including but not limited to disclosures required by law (45 CFR § 164.512(a)) or for "public health activities and purposes." Additional information on the HIPAA Privacy Rule can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/m2e411a1.htm and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/summary/index.html.
Names and other identifying information are required for all reportable diseases. This method provides the most complete and accurate data by minimizing duplicate reports and facilitating follow-up with health care providers for additional information. Additionally, CDC only accepts data from surveillance systems that utilize names as an identifier.
Anonymous testing is available throughout Georgia at publicly funded HIV Counseling and Testing sites, which include your local health department.
For more information, please click this Security and Confidentiality Brochure link to be directed to the brochure (or see below in Related Files).
Students and other public health programs, please click this Data Request Form link to be directed to the HIV Request Form (or see below in Related Files). Fill out all fields and submit by email to Delmar.Little@dph.ga.gov or fax (404) 657-4141. We will return you request within two weeks.
All others, please visit http://dph.georgia.gov/phip-data-request to create a PHIP data request account and login.