In a narrow decision, the New York AIDS Advisory Council voted to back the development of a unique identifier system to track HIV cases. The vote caps a four-month debate between AIDS policy developers and public health specialists. The panel's recommendations now go to State Health Commissioner Barbara DeBuono, and legislation is expected. The group was divided over the issue of partner notification, but all sides opposed imposing criminal penalties on people who refuse to disclose names and addresses of partners. New York's plan will differ from the numerical codes used in Maryland and Texas, and will contain elements of information from public sources. The panel supports the use of the data to track the epidemic and allocate funds, but is opposed to using the data for broader public health purposes.