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There's a list of reportable disease. They must be reported to the authorities. But what about close contacts ? Examples:
1- an HIV positive patient who's having unprotected sexual intercourse. Do I have to inform his girlfriend about his HIV status ?
2- a patient with menigococcal meningitis. His close contacts must take Rifampin. Can I tell them ?
1. No, you can't tell the gf but you can encourage the patient to talk to his girlfriend and have her tested as well. Also advice the patient to stop having unprotected sex.
2. This is a public health issue and public health department handles these kinds of issues. You can meet with patient's family to discuss the preventive measures and treatment. You don't go on your own to start telling people about your patient's illness. Talk to your patient and ask him/her to bring his/her family to meet with you to discuss the options.
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