Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna inadvertently revealed the HIV status of some of its members when it mailed letters with information clearly visible through a window on the envelopes about filling prescriptions for HIV medications as well as pre-exposure prophylaxis, a pill that helps prevent a person from contracting HIV, according to CNN.
The letters were mailed July 28 to about 12,000 customers in multiple states. On July 31, the insurer was made aware that customers' personal information had been revealed, according to a letter Aetna sent to affected customers this week. Aetna said a vendor who mailed the letters used the windowed envelopes, according to CNN.
"We sincerely apologize to those affected by a mailing issue that inadvertently exposed the personal health information of some Aetna members," Aetna said in a statement to CNN. "This type of mistake is unacceptable, and we are undertaking a full review of our processes to ensure something like this never happens again."
Patients in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia contacted attorneys after receiving the letters. The Legal Action Center, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and six other organizations are representing affected customers, according to the report.