Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Court Rules Release of HIV Diagnosis Not Always Banned

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Court Rules Release of HIV Diagnosis Not Always Banned

Article excerpt

A physician is not always prohibited from releasing information about a person who has been diagnosed HIV-positive, the Court of Civil Appeals ruled Tuesday.

The question arose when a licensed practical nurse filed suit against his physician employer for divulging information about his HIV diagnosis to some co-workers and patients.

The physician denied telling co-workers or patients that the employee was HIV positive. And, although the physician prescribed antibiotics for the employee at one time, he did not treat the worker for HIV. Presiding Judge Kenneth L. Beuttner, writing for the appeals court, said 63 O.S. 1991, Section 1-502.2, provides the circumstances under which a person's HIV status be kept confidential. That statute requires confidentiality of all information and records that identify any person who has or may have a reportable communicable or venereal disease, unless otherwise provided by law, "and which are held or maintained by any state agency, health care provider or facility, physician, health professional, laboratory, clinic, blood bank, funeral director, third-party payor or any other agency, person or organization in the state." Information that may be released pursuant to the section must be released in such a way that no person can be identified. …

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