n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - HIV/Aids, human rights and insurance - some indicators : legal matters

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



Every patient has a constitutional right to privacy and every doctor has an ethical duty to maintain patient confidentiality. The principle is that any third party such as an insurance company can only access information to which a patient (the insured) has provided informed consent. Informed consent means that the person is aware of the consequences of his/her consent. Therefore the South African Medical Association does not regard blanket consent or consent obtained years ago as informed consent. In insurance law, a person (the insured) has to disclose all material facts that may affect the insurance to the insurer. The relationship is between the insurer and the insured, and unless the insured has consented to the medical practitioner making medical information known on his/her behalf, the practitioner is bound to preserve confidentiality. The family of a deceased person may consent to an insurer requesting information from the practitioner in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000. The Regulations to the Act must be used to request the information.

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