A Quick Note on HIV Confidentiality (Disclosure of HIV Status)

A Quick Note on HIV Confidentiality (Disclosure of HIV Status)

Sometime in December 2014, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan signed into law Nigeria’s HIV and AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act. Amongst many other things, the act clearly stipulates the rights and responsibilities of HIV affected and infected individuals and the obligations of institutions to these people. You can access the entire act here and the summarized version here.

Amongst the many sections treated in the act, I’d like to say a few words with regards to disclosing one’s HIV status, as a few months back, an unfortunate incident happened that had one of us wondering if he had the right to reveal someone’s HIV status.

While Part II Sections 8-1, 11-1 and 13-1 of the act are clear on the fact that no one has the right to disclose your HIV status but you, Section 8-2 says:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any partner in a marriage or co-habiting relationship has the right to be informed of his or her partner’s HIV status in a situation where he or she considers himself or herself at risk of being infected by a partner.”

I am no lawyer, but my interpretation of the above is as simple as YOU LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO CONFIDENTIALITY WHEN YOU PUT SOMEONE AT RISK OF BEING INFECTED.

For clarity, the minute you, as an HIV positive client, engages in UNPROTECTED SEX with anyone, you lose your right to confidentiality. After scanning through the document, I couldn’t find a penalty for such an act so I think you only risk your status being revealed to the world and the stigma that follows thereafter.

Lawyers in the house, do please feel free to correct me.

I have to say that we are quite lucky in Nigeria as during my reading, I discovered that laws criminating HIV in some countries are quite brutal, so much so that they do more harm to HIV infected individuals than good. In some places, having even fully protected sex with anyone without revealing your HIV status is a crime. Getting pregnant while HIV positive is/was even considered a crime in some places.

Is not a small something fa!

Like I’ve always said, the best thing you can do for yourself as someone living with HIV is to always disclose before the sex as your contacts may act irrationally when they find out in the future and thus start spreading vicious lies despite you protecting them during the encounter. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, so simply PROTECT yourself and your contacts and be prepared for whatever comes thereafter.

Oh and Happy New Year everyone.

Written by Francis

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6 Comments

  1. Canis VY Majoris
    January 11, 10:08 Reply

    The day Nigerian guys will start revealing their HIV status prior to sex is the day a fairy will grant my 2 wishes 😒.

    • Jo
      January 11, 13:13 Reply

      Not true, your assumption,that is. I know two guy who revealed their status to their partners prior to them having sexual relations.

      We have a long way to go, yes, but don’t be making blanket assumptions.

      • Canis VY Majoris
        January 12, 09:26 Reply

        Also ‘your’ opinion. I’m entitled to my ‘blanket’ assumption solely because I haven’t met those type of people. So it is true.

        Btw just 2 candidates hardly tips the scale.

  2. Cleo
    January 11, 13:29 Reply

    on another note, where is our fashion police, the golden globes just happened.

  3. Blob
    January 12, 06:44 Reply

    So if there’s no visible threat to life, you lock up or use indirect methods to tell the person to protect himself?

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