Security and Confidentiality Considerations
Health departments routinely use personally identifiable and sensitive information as part of their disease prevention and control activities. When following up with HIV-diagnosed individuals who need linkage to or re-engagement in care services, health department staff must be able to access client locating information, client medical and laboratory information, and provider and facility information. Ensuring that all of this information is managed, stored, and used securely and confidentially is crucial for maintaining public trust and successfully implementing HIV-related public health programs.
Having common security and confidentiality guidelines for protecting data that might be shared across public health programs within a health department or within a jurisdiction is necessary to ensure the data are adequately protected. Health departments should ensure that written policies and procedures that cover all aspects of data collection, storage, and use, are in place and that standard approaches are used to increase awareness among staff and support a culture of maintaining privacy, whether data are used in workplace or taken into the field.