Posthumous HIV Disclosure and Relational Rupture

J Clin Ethics. 2018 Fall;29(3):196-200.


In response to Anne L. Dalle Ave and David M. Shaw, we agree with their general argument but emphasize a moral risk of HIV disclosure in deceased donation cases: the risk of relational rupture. Because of the importance that close relationships have to our sense of self and our life plans, this kind of rupture can have long-ranging implications for surviving loved ones. Moreover, the now-deceased individual cannot participate in any relational mending. Our analysis reveals the hefty moral costs that disclosure can bring, which should influence what information is given to would-be donors and how organ procurement coordinators approach these conversations.

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality / ethics*
  • Death
  • Disclosure / ethics*
  • Duty to Warn / ethics*
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Tissue Donors*