China / Society

Concealment of HIV infection triggers debate over medical ethics

By WANG XIAODONG ( Updated: 2016-01-13 14:24

Concealment of HIV infection triggers debate over medical ethics

A technician carries out a blood test for HIV virus at Jinan AIDS lab in East China's Shandong province on Nov 30, 2015. [Photo/IC]

A case in which a doctor failed to inform a man of HIV infection in his wife, resulting in the man's infection, sparked heated controversy among the public.

The 25-year-old man, living in Yongcheng, Henan province, was found to be infected with HIV in June last year after the couple's marriage, according the China National Radio.

The man, whose name was withheld, said he and his wife had a physical check on the same day after registering their marriage in March, but the doctor insisted on talking with his wife in private after getting her result.

Click here to access our online survey about the debate

The man was suspicious and asked the doctor if anything was wrong but the doctor said there was nothing wrong except that she had higher cholesterol.

Later he learned that it was suspected that his wife had HIV, which the health check later revealed, but the doctor only told the wife to protect her privacy.

Doctors should inform disease control and prevention centers of any patients suspected of HIV infection, but they cannot disclose patient information to others and may be held legally accountable for a privacy leak, according to Chinese law and regulations.

According to a survey of 97,000 people on, a major news portal in China, 87 percent said doctors should inform spouses of HIV patients about their partner's condition to protect them.

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