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HIV & Patients’ Rights

You have the right to be fully informed about medical procedures or treatment you will receive, including an HIV test, so that you can give informed consent. You also have the right to refuse medical treatment.

Always read the fine print if you consent in a release form to have your medical record provided to someone else such as an employer. You can tell your doctor not to disclose particular medical details.

Confidentiality

Doctors and other health care workers have a legal duty to keep your medical information, including your HIV status, confidential. This means they cannot release your medical information without your consent unless the law orders them to do so. Doctors and health care workers are required to report a positive HIV test or a diagnosis of AIDS to Public Health. In some other specific situations — such as a legitimate concern that someone else is at risk of harm — the law may allow the release of confidential medical information without your consent.

Treatment

In an emergency situation, a hospital cannot refuse to treat a patient unless the hospital does not have the proper facilities. In that case, the hospital has to assist the patient in getting emergency service elsewhere.

In a non-emergency situation, doctors and other health care workers have the right to refuse to treat a patient. However, a doctor who refuses to treat a patient because the patient is HIV-positive or has AIDS should be brought to the attention of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. You can also file a complaint about such discrimination with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

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About PLEA

PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.