[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 12-22-1987 by L.L. No. 46-1987 (Ch. 210 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
Medical specimens — See Ch. 590.
Editor's Note: This local law was adopted by the Legislature after disapproval by the County Executive on 11-27-1987.
This Legislature hereby finds that acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the 20th Century's most virulent epidemic. One of the major locations of the AIDS epidemic is centered within the State of New York. There are more reported cases of AIDS on Long Island than in any other suburban community in the United States.
This Legislature further finds that since 1979, when the syndrome was first detected, 35,219 people have been diagnosed as having been afflicted by AIDS, 20,352 of whom have died, a mortality rate approaching a staggering 57%. The smallpox epidemic which occurred earlier this century killed 25% of its victims.
This Legislature further determines that the medical, financial, social and political resources of governments at the federal, state and local levels have not yet been effectively marshaled to fight this epidemic.
This Legislature further notes that the New York State Legislature has encouraged local agencies to allocate necessary resources and take necessary steps to establish a comprehensive program to combat AIDS through combined, correlated efforts of state and local governments, medicine, universities, nonprofit organizations and individuals pursuant to Article 27-E of the New York Public Health Law.
This Legislature further finds that the National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has estimated that the number of people exposed to the AIDS virus is approximately 2,000,000 and increasing rapidly.
This Legislature further determines that the cause of transmission of AIDS to human beings has not been finally determined by the scientific community with the exact precision sufficient to rule out transmission through sources other than sexual contact, sharing of needles by intravenous drug users and/or blood transfusions.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to establish blood screening regulations for AIDS at all Suffolk-County-owned or -operated health centers.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS)
- Having antibodies in the blood against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), with or without any condition arising from or associated with infection with the etiologic agent for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
- COUNTY HEALTH CENTER
- Any ambulatory, diagnostic and treatment center authorized under Article 28 of the New York Public Health Law, owned, operated, managed or funded in whole or in part by the County of Suffolk, either directly or through contract agencies or through the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. "County health center" shall also include methadone maintenance clinics, detoxification clinics, prenatal services at health centers, family planning services at health clinics and sexually transmitted disease services at health clinics. "County health center" shall not include mental health clinics or any clinic which only treats individuals for mental health or mental retardation conditions.
- The Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
Any individual accepted for treatment at a County health center shall be advised of the availability of and afforded the opportunity to undergo a comprehensive blood test to determine whether or not such individual is afflicted with AIDS or is a carrier of the disease. Prior to the actual performance of such a test, the individual volunteering to undergo said test shall be informed, in writing, by the pertinent County employee or official that the results of such a test, if such person tests positive, shall be disclosed to the lawful spouse of said individual so tested and that consenting to undergo said test under such circumstances with such knowledge shall be construed by the County of Suffolk as a waiver of such individual's rights, if any, to confidentiality as to the use of such test results as pertaining to such a spouse.
The results of such tests shall be disclosed to the individual tested and shall be kept otherwise confidential by the County of Suffolk, except that such information shall be released, if such person tests positive, to whoever was the lawful spouse of such individual on the date that such test was conducted. When informed, in writing, by the individual testing positive of other people who may have been a sexual contact of such individual within a prior period of time determined by appropriate regulation of the Commissioner of the Department, then the Commissioner of the Department may inform said sexual contact of the test results in accordance with Subsection B(2) of this section. Such information shall also be forwarded to the Commissioner of the Department for the purpose of compiling statistics on the incidence of AIDS in Suffolk County. The results of such tests may be disclosed to others in accordance with the following procedures:
If the person to whom such information is to be disclosed is not a spouse or sexual contact of the individual so tested:
Then the results may be disclosed if:
Prior to the disclosure, the tested individual has obtained the legal age of majority and has, in accordance with Subsection B(1)(b), consented to the disclosure; or
A consent under Subsection B(1)(a) shall be void to the extent that the consent authorizes the recipient of the disclosure to make subsequent disclosures in the discretion of the recipient of such information.
A consent under Subsection B(1)(a) shall:
Be in writing and be dated.
Specify the information that is to be disclosed.
Specify the person, persons or class of persons whom the consent authorizes to make the disclosure.
Specify the person, persons or class of persons to whom the disclosure is to be made.
If the person to whom such information is to be disclosed is a sexual contact but not the spouse of the individual so tested, then the results may be disclosed to the sexual contact if such person disclosing reasonably believes that:
If a test determines that such a person is afflicted with AIDS or is a carrier of the disease, then the pertinent County health center shall offer counseling and/or medical assistance to the affected individual upon request of such individual. The Department shall also provide counseling and/or medical assistance to any other individuals upon request of such individuals.
County health centers shall take all measures necessary and prudent to ensure the safety and protection of all employees and other individuals at said health centers consistent with the prevailing medical standards for treatment of the AIDS condition, whether dormant or active, as more particularly provided for in § 278-4 of this chapter.
The availability of such voluntary, comprehensive, confidential blood testing for the presence of AIDS shall be widely publicized by the Department as part of its regular public information programs on public health.
All County health centers, the officers of the Division of Medical-Legal Investigations and Forensic Sciences and County district nursing offices shall formally adopt, adhere to and comply with all AIDS prevention guidelines for medical workers as established and promulgated by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Department shall disseminate such guidelines, in writing, to all employees of the County health centers, County district nursing offices, the offices of the Division of Medical-Legal Investigations and Forensic Sciences and all County-employed medical personnel on a periodic basis as such guidelines are updated by the CDC and as such health centers experience changes in personnel so as to ensure the safety and protection of all employees and individuals at such clinics in conformity with prevailing CDC standards for medical workers. In the event that the Department wishes to adopt AIDS prevention guidelines for medical workers which are more stringent than those established and promulgated by the CDC, then the Department shall first submit such proposed guidelines to the County Legislature and obtain the approval, ratification and confirmation of the County Legislature via a duly enacted resolution before such guidelines may take effect.
The Department shall provide a hepatitis B vaccination to all employees of County health centers who are considered at significant risk of hepatitis B infection by the New York State Health Department and the CDC, at no cost to such employees, upon written request of such employees for such vaccination.
Section 278-3A of this chapter shall not apply where, in the judgment of a medical doctor at such health center, a delay caused by undertaking and performing such a test would threaten or jeopardize the life or health of said individual. This determination shall be appropriately documented in medical records at such health center.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Department.
In the event that the Commissioner of the Department receives test results pursuant to § 278-3B of this chapter, the results of such tests shall be kept confidential by the Department, except that such information shall be released to a spouse of such individual, to a third party or to a sexual contact if so informed by the tested individual in compliance with § 278-3B above. Such information may be used by the Department to contact affected individuals to provide counseling, medical attention and treatment, if requested, to locate other individuals who may be affected, if requested, and to maintain statistical data on the status of the disease.
Any person or employee who willfully violates § 278-3A, C or D or 278-4 of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each such violation. Any person or employee who willfully discloses AIDS test results under § 278-3B or 278-6B of this chapter without legal authorization and in violation of confidentiality provisions shall be subject to a civil penalty of $2,000 for each such violation.
The Commissioner of the Department shall issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as he shall deem necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.