A 5-year-old with HIV is planning to begin school in the fall. His parents informed the nurse that they do not plan on telling the school about their son's HIV status. Which of the follow responses by the nurse is most appropriate?


•"It is your right to maintain confidentiality." A patient has the legal right to withhold his or her HIV status from the school.

•Physicians may only report cases of HIV infection to the Department of Health, and in many states, laboratories report HIV nucleic acid tests (viral load tests), CD4 lymphocyte tests, and drug resistance and subtype tests to the State Department of Health. This reporting helps to accurately monitor the HIV epidemic and create programs for HIV prevention to serve affected people and communities. All reported information is protected by strict confidentiality laws.

Incorrect options:

•"You are required to inform the school." This is incorrect.

•"The physician is required to call the school and tell them." Health care workers cannot break patient confidentiality by informing a school of a person's illness.

•"Your son will have to wear a face mask when attending school." HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and will not spread airborne or via droplets, so face masks are not required.

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