Respect du secret professionnel et information des partenaires sexuels d'un patient contaminé par le VIH/sida: nouveaux repères éthiques pour faire évoluer le droit et la déontologie

L. Ravez, A. Malonga

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Safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information is a central element of the ethics of health care. This paper focuses on an exception to the duty of confidentiality, in the case of a patient infected with HIV/AIDS and refusing to inform their sexual partners of his/her HIV status. We show that the specificities of infectious diseases and particularly of HIV infection leads to question the scope of this ethical and legal landmark. The classic tools of bioethics, primarily focused on the protection of the individual, cannot adequately help to resolve the public health problems when they are used in a contagious or epidemic context. We study these questions through the Belgian and French legislations that we compare with Congolese law. This legislation is characterized by an exception to the duty of confidentiality in the case of refusal of disclosure of HIV status. It is possible to ethically justify such an exception without invoking a binary pattern between potential aggressors that are contaminated patients and their victims at risk of contamination. This allows us to consider in a new day legal texts studied, suggesting some changes cautiously.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalEthique et Sante
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012

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