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CONTINUED FUNDING SOUGHT FOR ANONYMOUS TEST SITE

While the number of people being tested at public health clinics for the AIDS virus has increased slightly in the past year, the number of people identified as positive for the virus has decreased.

Health officials asked members of the Legislature's Health and Environment Interim Committee Wednesday to continue funding an anonymous testing site, located in Salt Lake County, although the number of people receiving anonymous screenings has dropped by 20 percent.The one-of-a-kind site allows people to get tested for the virus without identifying themselves. Health officials maintain that some of the people who are tested there would not get the blood screening if they had to give their names.

In all, 7,645 Utahns took part in the state's public counseling and testing programs from July 1, 1992, to June 30, 1993. Of those, 108 were HIV positive. That number increased to 7,962 tested the next year, while only 73 tested positive.

The overall rate of positive tests is 0.9 percent for both anonymous and confidential test sites, according to Edie Sidel, director of the Bureau of HIV.

At the anonymous test site, 10 of the 835 people tested showed the presence of the HIV virus. While that number has dropped in the past year, the anonymous test site has the highest positive rate in the state.

Another 4,164 people had the blood screening at confidential test sites in Salt Lake County. Of those, 46 were identified with the virus. And confidential test sites outside of Salt Lake County found another 17 people who are HIV positive, out of 2,963 tested.

Sidel said no one interviewed at the anonymous test site refused to give information about sexual partners. That has previously been a concern for lawmakers, since the Department of Health tries to identify and counsel people who may have been exposed to the virus.

In all, Utah has had 961 HIV/AIDS cases identified. More than half of those individuals have died, although people with the virus are living longer, according to Sidel.

The committee took no action on the recommendation Wednesday.