Keeping patient HIV status confidential: The experiences and perceptions of community members in a public clinic

Tsame, Omphile
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Confidentiality is one of the important elements when providing services to patients and clients, this includes services relating to HIV and AIDS. The study used qualitative research to explore the perceptions and experiences of community members pertaining to the maintenance of confidentiality by clinic staff. This case study employed semi-structured interviews with fourteen (14) community members at a village in the North West Province, South Africa. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings revealed that participants perceive their HIV status as being kept confidential; however they lacked confidence in the conduct of clinic staff as having the potential to maintain confidentiality in certain circumstances. They point to factors which convince them to believe that confidentiality is maintained and factors that may lead to the breach of confidentiality. Interestingly, patients showed lack of understanding of what is meant by confidentiality and maintenance thereof. The main conclusion is that with good systems and ethically conscious staff the confidentiality of patients can always be maintained. Furthermore the service providers have a responsibility of raising awareness to the patients about the ‘Patient’s Rights Charter’ in relation to confidentiality. Key words: HIV and AIDS, Confidentiality
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Social Work