Hiv Status Disclosure by Patients in Health Care Contexts: Patient and Provider Perspectives


  • S.E. Stutterheim
  • L. Sicking
  • A.E.R. Bos
  • W.H. van Brakel
  • L. Lechner
  • G. Kok


Perspectives on HIV disclosure to health care providers by people living with HIV (PLWH) were investigated via semi-structured interviews with 22 PLWH and 14 health care professionals. Perspectives on disclosure varied substantially across PLWH and between PLWH and health care providers. Some PLWH felt they should always disclose to health care providers so that providers can take necessary precautions or because disclosure optimizes care. Others felt that disclosure is not an obligation but a courtesy. Still others felt that disclosure is unnecessary as all health care providers should apply universal precautions or because knowledge of HIV status is not relevant to said care. Interestingly, most health care providers claimed that they should always be informed about a patient’s HIV status as this reduces occupational risks of infection and improves the care PLWH receive. These participants felt that disclosure concerns among PLWH are unnecessary given health care providers’ duty of professional confidentiality. Some health care providers acknowledged that disclosure is not always necessary but still indicated that they would rather be informed. Implications will be discussed.






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