IS HIV A REPORTABLE DISEASE?
February 16, 2016
Some believe that people living with HIV must disclose their viral status to their employers, to their dentists etc. because, they claim, HIV/AIDS is a reportable disease. How true is this?
For Health Canada, a reportable disease is a « disease considered sufficiently important to make it compulsory to declare any cases observed to the health authorities ». It can be a contagious disease that was thought to have disappeared or to have been under control, or a disease caused by exposure to chemicals or parasites, such as cholera, measles or cancer caused by asbestos.
This list is proposed to the provinces which decide, for each illness, the information to be reported to Health Canada and the type of monitoring to be carried out. Quebec has thus established its own list. These are illnesses liable to cause epidemics if nothing is done to keep them in check and recognized as significant threats to public health. The name of a person infected with a reportable disease, his or her contact details, date of birth and health-insurance number, along with details of the disease’s progress have to be reported so as to prevent it from spreading.
In Québec, HIV/AIDS is not a reportable illness, because it is not a contagious disease requiring immediate intervention. The only circumstance in which HIV/AIDS is reportable is when the person concerned has received or given blood or tissues.
Each new case of HIV/AIDS is declared, but without naming the patient. The information reported can only be used for statistical purposes.
Disclosing one’s HIV status therefore has nothing to do with the idea of reportability.
HIV status is confidential. A person living with HIV is not obliged to disclose it to anyone, except in two precise situations: when (s)he takes out an insurance policy; before a sexual relationship that entails a “realistic possibility” of HIV transmission. Moreover, under no circumstances may a third party disclose the viral status of another person without his/her consent.
For more information: cocqsida.com