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Confidentiality & Hiv Disclosure Essay

  • Submitted by: kbob24
  • on February 19, 2012
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 996 words

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Below is an essay on "Confidentiality & Hiv Disclosure" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Position Paper: Confidentiality & HIV

Patients who have been formally diagnosed with HIV have the right to expect confidentiality in both their treatment and the records that disclose those results by health care professionals. This right is firm and guaranteed by law, but there are certain circumstances or conditions which, when present, require the disclosure of that information. According to the American Medical Association, there are exceptions to the rule of confidentiality, one such circumstance is when a third party (not the patient) is clearly at risk of infection or has been exposed to that infection. In this case, the doctor has a responsibility to notify that individual if the patient refuses to do so. In Deborah Aaronson’s case, she as the patient refuses to discuss her HIV status with her husband out of fear that he will react violently to that information, thereby putting herself and her unborn child at risk of harm. Her fear is based on previous violence so it is not unfounded. This case is different than most because the medical professional’s duty to inform the third party has clear potential to cause harm to the patient by the one who is informed. The doctor must now determine whether or not the physical harm that could be done to Deborah and her fetus outweigh the potential medical harm to her husband if he contracts the HIV infection. I believe that it does not. While breaking confidentiality with Deborah is of serious concern considering the circumstances, I believe that disclosing potentially life saving information to her husband outweigh the potential harm against Deborah and her fetus.
Formalized in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes “the inherent dignity” and the “equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family.” This document became fundamental in medical ethics because it describes for health care professionals what is owed to the patient as a human being. However, it must also be understood...

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