Routine Third Party Disclosure of HIV Results to Identifiable Sexual Partners in Sub-Saharan Africa

Theor Med Bioeth. 2008;29(5):341-8. doi: 10.1007/s11017-008-9085-x.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Confidentiality
  • Duty to Warn / ethics
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity* / diagnosis
  • Health Personnel* / ethics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Disclosure
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Truth Disclosure* / ethics