AIDS Activists Accuse South African Doctors of Reporting HIV Test Results Without Consent
Members of the advocacy group the AIDS Law Project yesterday accused South African doctors of performing HIV tests on workers "without their knowledge or consent and revealing [test results] to their employers," Agence France-Presse reports. Since 1996, the project has sent 28 complaints -- some involving workers who were fired after testing positive -- to the Health Professions Council, which has "yet [to find] any doctor guilty of professional misconduct in this regard," according to the ALP. Council spokesperson Thola Nzuza said that the council was investigating the complaints and "confirmed that it had received similar complaints in the past." The South African Congress of Trade Unions, representing nearly two million workers, urged individuals subject to these tests to file lawsuits. "We are afraid that a number of people will be exposed and that will lead to a situation where the community isolates them and they will be hunted out of their jobs because of their HIV status," COSATU spokesperson Siphiwe Mcgina said. Agence France-Presse reports that several patients "have won civil claims against doctors ... even though the council deemed the doctors not guilty" (Agence France-Presse, 2/6).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.