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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Illinois Senate Passes Bill to Amend Communicable Disease Prevention Act

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

On May 23, 2013, the Illinois Senate passed a bill amending the Communicable Disease Prevention Act. In 1987, the Act was signed into law, requiring local health departments to report a child's HIV status to the school principal. Principals then had the authority to share a child's HIV status with other school personnel on an "as needed" basis.

The 1987 law created a barrier between youth and HIV testing as many youth feared their status would be disclosed at school. Furthermore, the act stigmatized HIV-positive students. Prior to the recent amendment, Illinois was the only state to have such a law on the books.

In an effort to ensure student safety regardless of HIV status, school personnel are trained to follow recommendations for prevention of HIV transmission in health-care settings, also known as universal precautions. In 1987, the updated universal precautions recommended that blood and body fluid precautions (e.g. latex gloves) be consistently used for all persons regardless of their blood borne infection status. Under universal precautions, blood and certain body fluids of all persons are considered potentially infectious for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other blood borne pathogens (CDC, 1988).

The bill was forwarded to Governor Quinn for signature on June 19th, 2013.

This blog post was written by Michele Crawford, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health practicum student with the community health team of University of Illinois Extension in Cook County.


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