AIDS and a Duty to Protect ?

tivol at tivol at
Fri Feb 3 18:11:40 EST 1995

In article <3gsb7v$ltq at>,
barriuso at (Oscar Barriuso) writes:
>Mr. B ... [was] confidentially informed that his blood test 
>was positive for antibodies to the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
>[snip]	Mr. B then [snip] also said he was engaged.  Dr. T advised him to inform
>his fiancee of his Dx.  But Mr. B refused to do so, saying that it would ruin 
>his marriage plans.
>SHOOULD Dr. T inform her of his patient's test results, or should
>he protect the confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship ?
Dear Oscar,
	It's tempting to say "Save the poor woman's life by violation confi-
dentiality," but Dr. T could lose his licence to practise medicine, could be
sued for mega-$, and could even spend time in jail in some states.  The real
problem is with the stigma attached to AIDS and the social and legislative
consequences thereof.  Replace AIDS with hepatitis B, or some other serious
communicable disease and ask the same question--in fact these questions seem
not to arise with other diseases.
				Bill Tivol

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