Differences in reporting HIV status between psychologists and psychiatrists
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The present research examined the relationship between profession and breaking confidentiality while working with patients who are HIV positive and having unprotected sex with a sexual partner, and are refusing to inform the partner of their HIV status. This study also examined the relationship between course of action (break or not break confidentiality) and scenario presented in the survey (intent to harm or no intent to harm). The sample consisted of licensed psychologists and psychiatrists practicing in the state of Missouri. Results showed no relationship between profession and the breaking of confidentiality, but did demonstrate a significant relationship between course of action and whether or not intent to kill was present. Results also suggest that the participants might be more familiar with the Tarasoff case than with Missouri law. Discussion focuses on the need for mental health professionals to better familiarize themselves with relevant state laws pertaining to HIV and “duty to warn” situations.