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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Medical confidentiality: right of HIV/AIDS patient and the third party interest
Authors:Odunsi, S.B.
Nwafor, A.O.
Periodical:Lesotho Law Journal: A Journal of Law and Development
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
social and economic rights
Abstract:Contact tracing or partner notification entails a doctor or public health officer informing the sexual partners of patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Essentially, contact tracing involves the doctor disregarding the right of the patient to medical confidentiality in respect of the HIV status. A physician would only be legally bound to notify sexual partners when legislation provides for the power or duty to do so, or where there is a duty to warn under common law. But, does such a duty exist in law, and if not, is it desirable that it should exist? These are some of the issues addressed in this paper. It pays specific attention to the legal and ethical positions on the subject in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Australia, all countries where there is no statutory duty imposed on a physician to warn an identified sexual partner of a person infected with HIV/AIDS. But rules of law aside, there is an existing moral obligation on physicians to protect identifiable individuals from any serious threat of harm if they have information that could prevent such harm. Imposing a duty to warn on physicians will ensure that, at least, some sexual partners would have reasonable chances of being saved from HIV/AIDS infection, and this can translate into significant reduction in the spread of the disease. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]