Implications of HIV and AIDS from the perspective of HIPAA confidentiality
AXIA College of University of Phoenix
The most serious diseases in history are HIV and AIDS. Approximately 20 years ago doctors found the first case of AIDS in the United States. Today, people living with HIV and AIDS have been estimated to be around 42 million people (Teens Health, 2009). There has been a report of people living with HIV or AIDS to be around 300,000 who are not even aware that they have this disease. There are approximately 40,000 new HIV infections each year and continues to remain the same (The Body, 2001). Information about HIV and AIDS is confidential and will remain that way as long as there is HIPAA to enforce the privacy of patient’s medical information (The Law office of Kendra S. Kleber & Associates PLLC, n.d.). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is what causes AIDS. HIV destroys CD4 helper lymphocyte in the body which is a defense cell. The body’s immune system which helps fight off infections contains the CD4 lymphocytes. As HIV destroys the CD4 lymphocytes in the body, people start to get infections that they normally would not get. Once the HIV has destroyed the immune system the patient has acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).People with AIDS cannot fight off infections. There are several ways that HIV can be transmitted, such as; body fluids, breast milk, shared needles, from an infected person through semen, blood, and from infected mother to her baby during childbirth (Teens Health, 2009). To understand the implications of both forms of HIV and AIDS from the perspective of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) confidentiality, we must understand what HIPAA is. Congress enacted (HIPAA), in 1996, in an effort to keep patients health information from being used inappropriately. HIPAA has been put into effect to protect patient’s privacy when it comes to their medical records. HIPAA places a restriction on how a patient’s medical records are handled, and who can have access to the information. There are four parts to HIPAA: transaction (the process of reporting health related information), privacy and security (involve protected health information), and portability (which refers to protecting individual’s ability to get health insurance whether they have a current or preexisting condition). There are rules and regulations that HIPAA has put into action to ensure that the rights and confidentiality is protected with every individual. People living with HIV are protected by several laws that are provided by HIPAA. The use of preexisting conditions has been limited because of the laws and regulations of HIPA. HIPAA also does not allow health plans to discriminate anyone by denying coverage for a family member’s poor health. HIPAA also guarantees certain individuals and certain small employers who have lost job-related coverage the right to purchase individual health insurance. Regardless of any health conditions someone has, as long as that person has purchased health insurance, can renew the insurance policy under the HIPAA laws and regulations (Biel-Cunningham, 2003). Information about HIV and AIDS is confidential. Confidential and private are two different things when referring to the HIPAA laws and regulations. Private information is information that a person does not want anyone else to know about. Private information may not always be protected and may change with the situation. Information that is confidential is damaging and so sensitive that there are special laws to protect confidential information. Whether someone is HIV-positive, HIV-negative, or HIV-untested there information is protected under the HIV confidentiality law. HIPAA protects a patient’s information wherever they go, which means if an employee of a hospital learns any medical information at work and discloses that information to a friend, then the employer is responsible. This sensitive information is important...
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