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Paramedics, Deputies Have Informal Lists Of AIDS Patients

September 25, 1987

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ City paramedics and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies have informal lists of AIDS patients, apparently somewhat like the list kept by police in Montgomery that has raised controversy.

Director D.A. Wear of Birmingham Emergency Medical Services said the fire department keeps a list of people with the contagious, incurable disease but ″we don’t have any official list that is verifiable.″

He said the list was compiled from ambulance personnel, police and paramedics who learn from people who tell them they have AIDS or have been exposed to the AIDS virus.

Wear said he has mixed feelings about trying to get a list through confidential medical sources so paramedics can take precautions in handling patients with the disease.

″For our self-protection it might be more desirable, but it may be a confidentiality problem,″ he said. ″If you look at it from that point of view it’s undesirable.″

A sheriff’s deputy said deputies also are aware of ″one or two people who have told us they have AIDS and it was verified.″ He said the department does not have an official list.

Wear said he would prefer that personnel take precautions no matter who they’re dealing with ″because sometimes people don’t know they have the AIDS virus.″

Police Inspector Charles Newfield said his department does not keep a list of AIDS patients.

″I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a help. ... We want our officers to have all information available to help protect themselves and citizens,″ Newfield said.

At Montgomery, the police department was criticized this week by homosexual rights groups, civil rights organizations and public health officials after Mayor Emory Folmar said the department had a secret list of AIDS patients.

The groups raised such issues as accuracy of the list, medical confidentialit y, invasion of privacy, and discouraging people from taking tests for the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Montgomery police said the list was compiled from voluntary statements by AIDS sufferers or their families, and that the names are kept in the department’s computer by addresses.

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