Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The Duty to Protect as derived from the Tarasoff case has been rigorously debated in terms of other mechanisms of harm. A situation where a client is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive and is known to be having unprotected sex with a victim who is not aware of the client's HIV positive status is one. Given the deadly nature of the sexually and blood-to-blood transmitted HIV, it has been determined that a social worker or other clinician may be warranted in breaching confidentiality if education about the dangers and efforts at counseling have failed to alter the HIV positive client's behavior. However, the following 5 specific criteria must be met: 1) The client must be known to be HIV positive. 2) The client must be engaging in unprotected sex or sharing drug injection paraphernalia. 3) The behavior must actually be unsafe. 4) The client must indicate an intent to continue the behavior even after counseling regarding potential harm. 5) HIV transmission must be likely to occur.

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