Legal Resources | Health and Safety Code | HS 121015
Disclosure to spouse or sexual partner
(a) Notwithstanding Section 120980 or any other provision of law, no physician and surgeon who has the results of a confirmed positive test to detect infection by the probable causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome of a patient under his or her care shall be held criminally or civilly liable for disclosing to a person reasonably believed to be the spouse, or to a person reasonably believed to be a sexual partner or a person with whom the patient has shared the use of hypodermic needles, or to the county health officer, that the patient has tested positive on a test to detect infection by the probable causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, except that no physician and surgeon shall disclose any identifying information about the individual believed to be infected.
(b) No physician and surgeon shall disclose the information described in subdivision (a) unless he or she has first discussed the test results with the patient and has offered the patient appropriate educational and psychological counseling, that shall include information on the risks of transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus to other people and methods of avoiding those risks, and has attempted to obtain the patient's voluntary consent for notification of his or her contacts. The physician and surgeon shall notify the patient of his or her intent to notify the patient's contacts prior to any notification. When the information is disclosed to a person reasonably believed to be a spouse, or to a person reasonably believed to be a sexual partner, or a person with whom the patient has shared the use of hypodermic needles, the physician and surgeon shall refer that person for appropriate care, counseling, and followup. This section shall not apply to disclosures made other than for the purpose of diagnosis, care, and treatment of persons notified pursuant to this section, or for the purpose of interrupting the chain of transmission.
(c) This section is permissive on the part of the attending physician, and all requirements and other authorization for the disclosure of test results to detect infection by the probable causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome are limited to the provisions contained in this chapter, Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 121075) and Sections 1603.1 and 1603.3. No physician has a duty to notify any person of the fact that a patient is reasonably believed to be infected by the probable causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
(d) The county health officer may alert any persons reasonably believed to be a spouse, sexual partner, or partner of shared needles of an individual who has tested positive on a test to detect infection by the probable causative agent of acquired immune deficiency syndrome about their exposure, without disclosing any identifying information about the individual believed to be infected or the physician making the report, and shall refer any person to whom a disclosure is made pursuant to this subdivision for appropriate care and followup. Upon completion of the county health officer's efforts to contact any person pursuant to this subdivision, all records regarding that person maintained by the county health officer pursuant to this subdivision, including but not limited to any individual identifying information, shall be expunged by the county health officer.
(e) The county health officer shall keep confidential the identity and the seropositivity status of the individual tested and the identities of the persons contacted, as long as records of contacts are maintained.
(f) Except as provided in Section 1603.1 or 1603.3, no person shall be compelled in any state, county, city, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings to identify or provide identifying characteristics that would identify any individual reported or person contacted pursuant to this section.
(Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 415, Sec. 7.)