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privacy rights
Feb 23, 2005

I have not gone to a doctor yet because I am scared of who may be told of my status. This is someting I only wish to share with close friends or family members I can trust, not my co-workers or neighbors. If I go to the doctor, will they make my status known to anyone?

Response from Ms. Breuer

You need competent medical care, and your fears should not keep you from it. Discuss your concerns with your physician. Ask how your status will be noted in the chart. Express your strong desire to have the information entered in a code that only the doctor knows if you are concerned about staff members seeing the file. But get care.

There are now severe penalties in place for unauthorized disclosure of medical information to anyone else. As to your co-workers and neighbors, remember: telling one means telling them all. They do not face penalties for wrongful disclosure.

There is no reason to tell your employer, your landlord, your banker, or anyone else with whom you have a business relationship. Medical information is your private business. I encourage you to keep it that way, relying on friends or family members you can trust to keep your confidences as your support team.

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