Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 341–348

Routine third party disclosure of HIV results to identifiable sexual partners in Sub-Saharan Africa



The challenges of dealing with disclosure of HIV status cause frustration to health care providers and counselors. This frustration follows from the already known high risk to the third party on one hand and our ethical obligation to “respect persons” in terms of privacy and confidentiality on the other side. Given the stubbornly low rates of voluntary disclosure (partner notification) among couples, however, it is quite tempting to suggest a paradigm of routine third party disclosure to identifiable sexual partners by health care providers. This might be the lesser of the two evils and might give better public health outcomes in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Third-party disclosure HIV status Identifiable sexual partners Confidentiality Sub-Saharan Africa 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Bioethics in Eastern and Southern AfricaUniversity of Malawi College of MedicineBlantyreMalawi
  2. 2.Rakai Research ProjectKampalaUganda

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