“Confidential” Tests Do Not Make Confidential Test Results
To make people feel more comfortable, many STD tests are labeled as “Confidential,” meaning that your health information is protected by federal laws such as The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). However, in the case of a positive STD test result, HIPPA doesn’t protect your information from being disclosed. “Confidential” is not very confidential at all.
Your Personal Information Placed on Record With a Positive Result
Here’s what happens when you have a positive STD test result from your doctor:
- The “confidential” test results are placed in your permanent medical record and can be shared with your healthcare providers and your insurance company.
- The laboratory and your doctor automatically report your full name, full address, phone number, social security number, date of birth, race, gender and other identifying information to the state health department along with the specifics of the test performed and the test results. The specific information reported varies a little from state to state.
- The state health department removes the identifying information except for your name and reports that to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
HIPPA allows this because it’s required by law.
If you don’t want your test results in your permanent medical record and you don’t want your personal information and a positive test result shared with the state and federal governments, you have to get an anonymous test, not a “private” or “confidential” test. The best way to get a truly anonymous STD or HIV test is to follow the instructions in our Guide to Anonymous Testing .
If you think you’re infected, don’t put off getting tested because of fears of embarrassment or disclosure. Use our anonymous testing guide instructions, get a truly anonymous STD or HIV test and get treatment if you test positive — all without disclosure to anyone.