I have recently read an article discussing the importance of patient confidentiality in the context of HIV status for South African women receiving antenatal care.
It is clear that women receiving antenatal care should inform a doctor of their HIV status in order to receive proper information and learn about preventative measures to ensure that their child does not become infected with HIV. However, this conversation between doctor and patient should be held entirely in confidence. If a woman’s HIV status is disclosed to the community, she may faced a large amount of stigma against her and her family. Especially in a located like South Africa where the adult HIV prevalence rate is 19.1% (http://www.unaids.org/en /regionscountries/countries/southafrica), releasing that type of information could have detrimental social repercussions for the patient. It is gravely important that doctor patient confidentiality agreements are upheld especially with disease like HIV, which has a lot of stigma surrounding it.