American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Forensic Considerations of HIV Infected and Those at Risk

B. R. Sharma and Sumedha Bangar

DOI : 10.3844/ajidsp.2005.139.144

American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume 1, Issue 3

Pages 139-144


While HIV infection is considered protected information in most parts of the world, it is clear that if a health care provider knows, that the patient is infected or is likely to be infected, then either the patient or those responsible for making their medical decisions must be informed of the infection or likelihood of infection. If not, the liability exposure of the health care provider, like the virus itself, will spread to more and more people. It must be remembered that despite the existence of a confidential patient-physician relationship, a health care provider has a duty to warn a clearly identifiable third party of possible serious harm. This reliance suggests that states may eventually extend provider liability to “significant others” and individuals with whom the provider knows, or has reason to believe, the infected individual is engaged in activity which may spread this virus. The focus by the courts reinforces the need for health care providers to stay current with local reporting requirements and their legal obligations.


© 2005 B. R. Sharma and Sumedha Bangar. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.