oa South African Family Practice - Human immunodeficiency virus : confidentiality and disclosure of information to third parties : CPD ethics

Volume 53, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Social concerns relating to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) can be understood in two ways. Firstly, social concerns can refer to the health determinants of the pandemic. The second disquiet relates to the way in which the HIV/AIDS pandemic has impacted upon society socially. One of the most vexing ethical dilemmas faced by doctors in this regard, concerns confidentiality. This pertains to whether or not their patient's HIV-positive status should be kept confidential, or disclosed it to a third party. In this article, we will examine the meaning of "confidentiality" as it relates to the doctor-patient relationship. We will then discuss the two oppositional positions: keeping a patient's confidentiality, or breaching it.

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