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Warning Third Parties at Risk of AIDS: APA's Policy Is a Barrier to Treatment
Samuel Perry
Psychiatric Services 1989; doi:
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Consultation-Liaison Service at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, 525 East 68th Street, New York, New York 10021

1989 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The American Psychiatric Association has adopted a policy stating that psychiatrists may warn third parties who are placed at risk by the behavior of a patient infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The author argues that although the policy appears reasonable and has well-established precedent, the public will ultimately be better served if HIV-infected patients are assured absolute confidentiality. He contends that the Tarasoff decision is not directly applicable to most HIV-infected patients, that education alone will not be sufficient to deter some infected patients from placing others at risk, that additional psychiatric interventions will be necessary to reduce the high-risk behaviors of those individuals, and that APA's policy will prevent many from seeking treatment.

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