Disclosure of personal information relating to HIV is perceived to be socially dangerous.That’s why the confidentiality of this information is of utmost importance. Nobody by law is allowed to share this information unless the victim consents to it. This is due to challenges and discrimination these people face in case the information gets to the public.The importance of confidential patient-doctor relationship is that it let people get medically tested knowing their status will be kept private. Possible legal action may be taken where there is an unauthorized disclosure of patient information.
Pennsylvania’s Act 148
This is also named as the Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information Act. This law states that social service and healthcare providers cannot share/disclose results of the HIV test. This may only happen if the patient gives written permission or in limited instances.
What is the confidential HIV-related information?
This is an information that shows
• A person has been exposed to HIV infections and related illness
• A person had a test related to HIV
• The contact information of any person with HIV
HIPAA Privacy rule
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is the federal law responsible for
i. Protection of privacy of patients’ health information and other medical records provided to hospitals, health plan, healthcare providers and doctors.
ii. Provide easy access to medical records to patients
iii. Let the patients dictates how information’s related to their personal health’s should be used and disclosed.
Clinical laboratories, Social service, and health care providers are supposed to file names of patient’s with HIV/AIDS and submit to the local department of health. The health department is then mandated by law to keep the information confidential and report to the state health department. The reports made public regarding HIV test are only numbers that help to keep track of the epidemic.
Understanding your HIV status is very important. There is law in place that will ensure nobody gets to know the results of your status. Knowing your status will help you learn ways you can positively live with the virus for a longer period.