ANNAPOLIS -- Concern that Marylanders will get conflicting and confusing information about AIDS has prompted the state to set up an office in the health department to try to coordinate activities of public and private agencies involved in the fight against the deadly virus.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer, in announcing creation of the education center, said he is concerned that with so many agencies working to halt the spread of AIDS, "the confusion to the . . . public will mount."
"There has to be . . . a clearing station for information," Schaefer said at a news conference.
The new office is called the Maryland Center for AIDS-Related Educational Services.
Dr. Eric Fine, a health department official who will oversee the program, said one of the first goals will be to train up to 3,000 people this year at workshops on how to avoid infection with AIDS.
State officials hope those "trainers" will go back to their work places and help educate as many as 100,000 Marylanders about AIDS.
The campaign will focus at first on occupations where there is some risk of exposure to AIDS. Among them are health care workers, police officers and firefighters.
A recent case in which some emergency workers were exposed to blood of a pregnant woman, killed by an arrow, who carried the AIDS virus prompted demands that state law be changed so that people who came in contact with the blood could be told of the infection without violating the doctor-patient confidentiality.
Legislation has been proposed for the 1988 General Assembly session to amend the confidentiality statute.