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Confidentiality, partner notification and HIV infection

S Abraham, J Prasad, A Joseph, KS Jacob


The ethical issues relating to confidentiality and partner notification, within the context of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, are complex. The individual’s right to confidentiality can be in conflict with the partner’s right to be protected from medical risk. This paper describes some situations faced by the staff of the Department of Community Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore. It discusses ethical issues related to confidentiality and partner notification, and documents problems relevant to India and to comprehensive community health programmes with close links to the community.

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