This law journal comment explores the South Carolina law which mandates that local health departments notify a school's superintendant and nurse if a minor student has HIV or AIDS. This comment argues that this law violates students' constitutional right to privacy and undermines state public health by deterring minors from receiving HIV tests. The author supplements the constitutional and public policy arguments with examples of students facing stigma and harassment when their HIV status is disclosed to their school.
Since this comment was written, South Carolina's law was been amended. Since June of 2011, the mandatory reporting requirement applies only when the minor is in grades kindergarten through fifth. Written status information now should not be included in school records, and if it is than it must be erased from the student's record when they enter the sixth grade. The amendment appears to respond to public health concerns that the law was discouraging teenagers from getting tested. However, the constitutional privacy concerns analyzed in this note remain unresolved.