Disclosure of HIV Status to Health Care Providers in the Netherlands: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

We qualitatively investigated perspectives on HIV disclosure to health care providers (HCP) by people living with HIV (PLWH). Perspectives varied across PLWH and between PLWH and HCP. Some PLWH felt they should always disclose so that HCP could take necessary precautions or because disclosure optimized care. Others felt that disclosure was not an obligation but a courtesy. Still others felt that disclosure was unnecessary as all HCP should apply universal precautions or because HIV status was not relevant to care. Most HCP claimed they should be informed about patients' HIV status as this would reduce occupational risk of infection and improve care. HCP also felt that disclosure concerns by PLWH were unnecessary given the HCP' duty of professional confidentiality. Some acknowledged that disclosure was not always necessary but still indicated wanting to be informed. Perspectives on HIV disclosure in health care settings differed substantially between PLWH and HCP.

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