Newsfeed : Mom Imprisoned for Posting HIV Patient’s Medical Info Online

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Newsfeed » June 2009

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

20 Years Ago In POZ

More News

Click here for more news

Have news about HIV? Send press releases, news tips and other announcements to


June 10, 2009

Mom Imprisoned for Posting HIV Patient’s Medical Info Online

A 22-year-old mother of three has been sentenced to a year in prison for posting the medical records of an HIV-positive woman online, Hawaii’s KGMB9 reports. She will also serve five years of probation and 200 days of community service.

According to the article, while working at the Straub Clinic in Honolulu as a clerical assistant in 2007, Rhonda Wong-Fernandez accessed the medical records of a woman she had a dispute with and posted the confidential information on MySpace. While the defense asked for no jail time, deputy prosecutor Chris Van Marter wanted Fernandez to serve a month behind bars. Judge Randy Lee disagreed and felt that a harsher punishment was necessary.

“We are not talking about someone talking stink about someone,” Lee said. “We are talking about something very sacred to someone.”

Van Marter read one of the several comments aloud in court. “She said quote, ‘No wonder she’s so pale. She’s dying of AIDS. Poor thing, she has HIV. That’s why she’s hating.’ And she ends the comment by saying, “I hope she dies.’”

Wong-Fernandez’s defense attorney requested to delay the imprisonment so that she can continue breast feeding her 5-month-old infant and arrange child care for her other children. The request was denied.

In April, the unnamed patient died of a brain tumor.

Search: Hawaii, Honolulu, medical records, Rhonda Wong-Fernandez, MySpace

Scroll down to comment on this story.


(will display; 2-50 characters)


(will NOT display)


(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules

Hide comments

Previous Comments:

  comments 1 - 15 (of 42 total)     next > >>

kala hottendorf, kaneohe, 2015-06-19 12:46:35
Apparently ms wong fernandez either forgot about HIPAA or didn't care. In any case she blew a good career on becoming malicious due to she knew the patient and looked into personal medical files, then posted results on my space, good luck with finding any type of job that has confidentiality in it, not even.

Lefanoga, , 2010-10-14 08:01:11
The un-named victim of this crime was my daughter. She was born w/the virus. I want to make a correction. My daughter (who was not diagnosed until the age of six and half) was never ill until April of 2009. Her death, however, was not the result of a brain tumor, it was due to a fungal infection of the thalamus which presented on only 5 days before she was pronounced brain dead. Her MD's stated that they have never seen anything like this before and do not expect to see it again.

farkitaskek, Los Angeles, 2010-09-30 19:39:53
Finding the best Los Angeles insurance quotes is a matter of taking the time to do some homework and compare rates. One sure fire way to lower your premium if all the quotes come back too high is to raise your deductible. Where you live. Geography matters when you want to have budget car insurance. If you live in rural areas, then you have greater chances of experiencing vandalism, car theft, and etc. The location where you exactly park your car also affects the rates.

Smh808, Hilo, 2010-04-06 07:06:23
That horrible woman should get more than 1 year, I heard she cried her way to serving only weekends...

mskhirakutwo, Mariupol, 2010-03-03 18:20:59
"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." - Albert Einstein ! what is the point of this quote ?

dorothxl, Stirling, 2009-12-23 19:53:54
"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein ! What do you think ?

imwiseman, Cheltenham, 2009-11-20 19:44:08
Know one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Quotation of Plato

demonikah, mpls, 2009-09-27 20:27:58
thats terrible. and sadly that awful womans state of ignorance and hatred isnt uncommon.

Nigel, San Francisco, 2009-07-30 04:18:43
Let's keep in mind that we don't know exactly what the situation between these two women were. We don't know what the other woman did to this woman to provoke her to do this. For all we know, she could have done something to deserve the public embarrassment.

James C, Redwood City, 2009-07-21 15:27:47
I was glad to see the judge used better judgement than the prosecution. Still, she got off lucky. Under HIPAA laws, she could have faced a maximum of 10 years and a fine of $250,000 for the most egregious violation of the law. I wouldn't have objected had he made the sentence heavier, but I'm also pleased he took a solid stance against such a vile act.

PJ, Jacksonville, 2009-07-08 01:06:42
How can she be so cruel? I am glad the judge imposed a stricter punishment for her, what she did was in so many ways just down right evil. I don't wish any harm to ms. Rhonda but I do hope she gets the help she needs in jail. what kind of example is she setting for her children?

Kevin, Phoenix, 2009-07-06 17:18:31
If more people came out of the HIV closet and showed that we still live happy, healthy, meaningful lives despite HIV, there would be no more shame with having HIV. What this lady did was disgusting and reprehensible, and she deserves the punishment she gets. But what's sadder is that there is still so much shame and stigma surrounding HIV. Come out of the poz closet folks! Be a positive role model.

Peajoe, Denver, 2009-07-06 13:27:08
She deserves the most harsh sentence the law allows. I've been positive for 25 years and know the way people can react. To have done what she did, she has to be mentally unstable and not only deserves prison time but needs psychological counseling.

W. E. KING, Tacoma, WA, 2009-07-01 01:22:25
How can someone say, She should infected with HIV, as just plunishment!!! Are you sicker than myself??? PLEASE.

Fred, London, 2009-06-30 10:49:01
What a sad story. I wish we lived in societies that allowed us to be open about our status rather then isolated to a closet. I really do think that such visibility would improve upon all our lives, reduce infections and raise the dialogue on sexual health to a level that would benefit the HIV+, HIV- and Unknown.

comments 1 - 15 (of 42 total)     next > >>

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.