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Canadian Public Health Association

Are you familiar with the laws and organizational policies surrounding disclosure and confidentiality?

  • A Core Competency in the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs)

Consider...
Claudette is a nurse practitioner at a community health centre. One evening during a drop-in clinic, a young woman comes in to get tested for STIs. The young woman is very apprehensive as she comes from a tight-knit ethnocultural community and is afraid of the backlash she may experience if others find out she came in for STI testing. She has many questions for Claudette, including how she will be contacted once her results are in and whether her parents and past sexual partners will be notified in the case she tests positive.

Do you work in the area of sexual health or STBBI program and policy development? Are you familiar with the laws and organizational policies surrounding disclosure and confidentiality and how they relate to your work with persons at risk of or living with STBBIs?

Use the questions below to help you self-assess your knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices related to disclosure and confidentiality. Remember that depending on your role, you may require different levels of proficiency for the various core competencies and it is possible that some of the competencies are not relevant to your work.

  1. Are you aware of STI reporting and partner notification requirements, and are you comfortable discussing these responsibilities (if applicable) with your clients?
  2. Do you understand your professional roles and responsibilities related to confidentiality and disclosure?
  3. Do you understand your duty to maintain the confidentiality of your clients' personal information and are you comfortable discussing with your clients the possible limits to confidentiality?
  4. How can you, as a service provider, create a safe and open environment for your clients to discuss their health (including their sexual health and substance use practices)?
  5. Are you aware of some of the factors that may influence an individual's decision to disclose their infection status to their service providers, partners, family, etc.?
  6. Do you know where to access more information on confidentiality and disclosure or, alternatively, where to refer your clients for further information?

Suggested resources:

This is one of a series of cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention. View all 26 cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention.

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