Key Cultural & Psychosocial Challenges of HIV-Infected Youth
Providers who treat HIV-infected youth must understand their responsibilities regarding "duty to warn" and "duty to protect others from harm."
- Know local disclosure laws. As disclosure laws differ from state to state, providers have an obligation to know their state's laws, and should be aware that these laws may differ greatly even among the cities and towns within a particular state.
- Understand that patients with psychiatric conditions have unique rights. Providers also should be aware of the consent, confidentiality, and competence laws concerning the treatment of adolescents with psychiatric conditions.
- Actively facilitate partner notification. Honor local laws pertaining to partner notification. Helping patients notify at-risk individuals is fundamental to prevention and linkage to early treatment if partners are also infected with HIV.
- Prevent patients from intentionally infecting others. Willful exposure cases (ie, when an HIV-infected person intends to cause harm by intentionally infecting another person) can be both an ethical and a legal issue for providers.