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Teacher notification of Student HIV status
Feb 20, 2004

During a recent parent/teacher phone conference, a parent notified me that her child was HIV+ with a T cell count of 150. She was surprised to find out that the teachers hadn't been informed. She was particularly concerned that I be aware that her child did not have CMV, since I am currently pregnant. She was very open about the status of her children. Should my administrators have passed on her disclosure to me? What are the laws governing this issue?

Response from Ms. Breuer

This is a parent who needs more information about her child's privacy rights. Your administrators have been doing their job by NOT disclosing the child's HIV status to you. As the parent of a minor child, she does have the right to disclose the child's medical information to you, but not the obligation. The laws that govern your administrators' behavior are quite clear: medical information is confidential, and they would face stiff fines under HIPAA for giving this information to teachers. You do not need this information to do your job well. I wonder how the child feels about the disclosure, if s/he knows it has happened. I encourage you to communicate with the parent through the administrators, who could explain to her about her child's privacy rights. Thanks for asking this question. Some people would just bring it up in the teachers' lounge, which is NOT a good idea. Kudos to you.

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