n Africa Education Review - HIV / AIDS and legal rights : when the educator's rights collide with learners' rights

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1814-6627



It is commonly held that when one has disclosed one's human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status to an official, the official is bound by principles of confidentiality not to disclose this information to other parties. In this article, I argue that while it is important to maintain confidentiality on the disclosure of HIV, there is a limitation to this confidentiality. The information may be legally passed on to other particular persons under procedures prescribed by law and policy. In this article arguments are drawn from a literature study and an empirical investigation. The empirical investigation was conducted through the medium of an authentic case study, but was constructed hypothetically on a critical incident of HIV / AIDS in the school context. The school governing bodies (SGBs) were asked to respond to the case in terms of the actions they would take should such an event occur in the schools. SGBs of five schools were interviewed. This research clarifies the levels of understanding of HIV / AIDS legislation and policy and the practices likely to arise from such understandings in South African public schools. The findings amplify the distance between policy and practice and the need for vigilance with respect to legal challenges that schools might face without adequate knowledge of, and information on, the pandemic.

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