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City hospital told to pay patient Sh2.5m for revealing HIV test result

A private hospital has been directed to pay a patient Sh2.5 million for compelling her to undergo HIV testing and revealing the information to a third party.

The HIV and Aids Equity Tribunal found Karen Hospital Ltd in Nairobi culpable, and directed it to pay the patient Sh1 million for the testing and Sh1.5 million for violating her right to confidentiality.

The tribunal observed that the patient, who had been admitted to the hospital, was not told that her blood was going to be used to check if she was HIV-positive.

The tribunal is made up of Mr Jotham Arwa (chairman), Dr Stella Bosire (vice-chairperson), Dr Charles Maringo, Ms Violet Awori, Mr Nelson Otuoma and Prof Mutu wa Gethui.

INSURANCE COMPANY

“Where a doctor or other medical personnel obliges a patient to give blood for some undisclosed tests, and thereafter proceeds to use the same to test for HIV, then the doctor or medical personnel will have subjected the said patient to compulsory HIV testing and will have committed a crime,” says the tribunal’s judgment.

The patient was also aggrieved that the doctors at the hospital informed her insurance company about the test results.

Lawyer Nelson Osiemo said his client’s right to privacy and confidentiality was violated when the hospital disclosed the results of the HIV test to the insurance firm without her knowledge and consent.

The tribunal said the law provides that results of an HIV test shall be confidential and shall only be released to the individual tested.