Disclosure and Reporting of Hiv Serostatus:

With human immunodeficiency virus prevalence increasing, we have a pandemic on our hands that beckons us with decision-making to alter the way we approach public health. On a community level, we are faced with the battle between the right to privacy and the right to information (Vorster, 2003). Although there is a thin line between protecting public health and protecting privacy, HIV disclosure should remain private and not be forced. Laws help to guide moral behavior and should guide the infected individual. They should also be set up to protect the un-infected public, but do so without infringing upon privacy and autonomy.
The history of HIV disclosure has a rocky past, as the discovery of HIV/AIDS began within marginalized populations. Gay men and African American people experienced infection in the highest numbers than any other social groups. Every state by 1983 began to report the names of people infected with AIDS, made available for health professionals and special interest groups. UNAIDS, which is the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is setting a goal to establish a better HIV surveillance system to monitor the spread and concentration of the virus. They proposed that the used of names should be an option, but strict and enforceable regimes of confidentiality must be in place for security (UNAIDS, 2000).
At first, I wondered exactly how much information the physician shares when he/she files a report. A named report includes the infected patient's demographic information, the name of the physician or laboratory that diagnosed the patient, the patient's risk history, the laboratory's analysis, the patient's clinical status, and any referrals for treatment or services given to the patient. A patient’s identifying information is removed from the report once the state health department processes the file. The health department then reports to the Center for Disease Control with the numerical “Soundex” code that is assigned to a particular...
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