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invasion of privacy?
Apr 13, 2013

Another tenant in a rooming house told everyone my HIV status without my permission and caused panic..can I bring charges?

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Thank you for writing in with your question. Your neighbor's behavior is hostile, unethical and wrong. However I am afraid there is probably nothing "illegal" about what they are doing. As individuals, your neighbors are not legally obligated to keep your status a secret UNLESS you shared that info with them under a written release/authorization form. HIV confidentiality laws in some states and the federal Privacy Rule under HIPAA prohibits "covered entities" (hospitals, doctors, social service agencies, etc) from wrongly disclosing one's HIV status, but does not protect you in most circumstances if a roommate/friend/relative discloses your status. You may want to consult with a tort or personal injury lawyer to see if they can be sued for their disclosures and harsh statements (although these cases have a high burden and are harder to win). I advise you to look into a mediation program that may deescalate this conflict. Most cities have mediation programs available through the court system that aim to help people resolve serious disputes. Please stay strong and I wish you good luck in this process!



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