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379 file lawsuit over shared HIV test results

7:55 PM, Feb 28, 2014   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- A local lawyer is calling it an inexcusable breach of trust: the HIV Status of 379 area men and women shared with a magazine in town. 

"They're very concerned that this is going to get out, that it's going to ruin their careers," said Attorney Todd Poole. 

He says their lives are on the line. Poole is representing 379 men and women whose HIV status was emailed to a magazine publisher in December. 

"I think the release of any medical record is scary, but so many records on this very sensitive subject is inexcusable," he said. 

The former CEO of Pride Medical Center in Atlanta allegedly emailed a magazine publisher with advertising information about HIV testing, and mistakenly included the results.

"There were a lot of mistakes. It was a mistake to hit send, it was a mistake to keep information in an unencrypted spread sheet, it was a mistake to send it via AOL," he said. 

In Georgia, it's not only illegal to disclose the results of an HIV test, but the fact that someone was tested in the first place. 
The first man to come forward told Poole he has told fewer than 5 people about his positive HIV status. 

"He hasn't told people like his mother, his stepfather. So it's really significant that someone he doesn't know finds out his HIV status," he said. 

Pride Medical told 11Alive News they do not comment on ongoing litigation, and a lawyer for the company did not return our calls.  

"Pride Medical has an excellent reputation for providing patient care, but part of that care is keeping information private, and that record is not so good," said Poole. 

Pride Medical has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. 

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