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Barring Doctors From Disclosing Patients' HIV Status To Spouses

Armen Hareyan's picture

Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Women's Caucus last weekend adopted aresolution calling on the government to review the country'sdoctor-patient confidentiality policy in regard to HIV status,Zimbabwe's Herald reports. According to Zimbabwean law,physicians are prohibited from discussing a patient's health with athird party, including spouses, without the patient's consent.

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CelinePote, a legislator for the country's Chiredzi North district, said thatspouses have the right to know whether their partner is HIV-positive."Let it be known by relatives, especially the wife or the husband, thatthe person they are taking care of is HIV-positive to avoid crossinfection and start living positively with the virus," Pote said.Thokozile Mathuthu, governor and resident minister in MatabelelandNorth district, said that the confidentiality policy would have to berepealed if the county was to eradicate HIV/AIDS.

Sen. AliceChimbudzi of Mt. Darwin-Muzarabani added that lawmakers would need tointroduce legislation in Parliament to repeal the policy. The Women'sCaucus met in Nyanga, Zimbabwe, at a United Nations Population Fundworkshop aimed at educating lawmakers on integrating women's rightsinto health policy, practice and constitutional provisions, the Herald reports (Herald, 9/25).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.