The Ethics of Anonymised HIV Testing of Pregnant Women: A Reappraisal
de Zulueta, Paquita
Journal of Medical Ethics. 2000 Feb; 26(1): 16-21.
Seroprevalence monitoring of HIV in pregnant women by anonymized unlinked testing has been widely adopted in the UK and other countries. The scientific rationale is to eliminate participation and selection bias. The ethical justification is that the public good outweighs any harm to individuals. The assumption has been that individuals have had their autonomy respected by the offer of informed consent. In the light of new scientific evidence, it is doubtful that the public good is best served by the continuation of anonymously testing women receiving antenatal care. It is submitted that it is no longer ethical for health professionals to refrain from informing pregnant women of the benefits of voluntary named testing, or to request their consent to anonymized testing. The legal and moral concept of duty of care is examined, and the abrogation of this duty through anonymization is explained.
Aids; Aids Serodiagnosis; Anonymous Testing; Autonomy; Beneficence; Common Good; Costs and Benefits; Consent; Decision Making; Disclosure; Drugs; Ethics; Fetuses; Harm; Health; HIV Seropositivity; Informed Consent; Mass Screening; Medicine; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Physician Patient Relationship; Physicians; Pregnant Women; Prevalence; Preventive Medicine; Psychological Stress; Public Health; Risks and Benefits; Stigmatization; Truth Disclosure;
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