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Insurance Company Aetna Inadvertently Reveals HIV Status of Thousands

From TIME - August 25, 2017

Insurer Aetna Inc. inadvertently revealed the HIV status of some clients in a mailing about medication for the disease sent to about 12,000 people last month.

The beginning of the letter, informing patients about options under their Aetna plan when filling their HIV prescriptions, was in some cases visible below the persons name and address on the envelope, through a large plastic window, according to the Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, which first revealed the mailing problem.

The insurer, which informed customers of the breach in a second letter and apologized, said some letters may have shifted in the envelope. The company also said that a vendor, which it didnt identify, was responsible for the July 28 mailing.

Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, in a letter Thursday to Aetna, asked the insurer to take corrective measures to make sure future breaches dont happen. The advocacy groups said they were contacted by individuals whose letters had been viewed by family, roommates and neighbors. People with HIV can face widespread stigma, including discrimination in employment, housing and education, the groups said.

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