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NURS 6050C: Policy and Advocacy for Improving Population Health
Main Question Post. Lena is in a precarious situation. There are times in the field of nursing one must make ethical decisions in uncharted waters. If Lena resided in the state of Florida, she would have likely undergone a counseling course and would know the patient must be given informed consent prior to the test’s administration, the patient must be administered pre and post test counseling, offered the availability of testing anonymously, and partner notification of testing results is not mandated by law (The Center for HIV Law & Policy, n.d.).
Florida law does, however, permit (not require) a healthcare professional under the auspice of the Department of Health to make known the positive test results to the sexual partner or needle sharing partner of the patient with a positive test result (Florida Department of Health, 2018, p.25). Lena would not face prosecution for violating confidentiality laws under this situation in the state of Florida, provided she had knowledge her sister was sexually intimate with the boyfriend.
Ethically, I personally think Lena should give the patient the option to discuss the diagnosis with the sexual partner first. The American Nurses Association (ANA), provision eight, infers that the individual needs of one person are trumped by the good of the community and or world and the provision is associated with public health nursing (Fowler, & ANA, 2008, p. 106-108). Provision eight also looks at the personal side of nursing as nurses form bonds with the patient (Fowler, & ANA, 20018, p. 108). If Lena is able to maintain professionalism and a nonjudgmental attitude, provision eight could be used to back Lena’s stance.
I would side with Lena in the current situation and research to find additional legal and ethical support allowing for the notification of the positive test results to the sister. Despite the fact people can now live longer periods of time with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), there is no cure, and sexual transmission is a definite mode of contraction for the communicable disease – living longer means needing treatment – obtaining treatment requires knowledge. I would want any person having had sexual relations in the previous ten years with the seropositive patient as well as any current sexual partners to be notified. An uninformed person is not making accurate health decisions.
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treatment, HIV testing Florida. Retrieved from https://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/states/florida
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