African Journal of AIDS Research

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Data-protection standards and confidentiality of HIV/AIDS status in the workplace — a South African case study

Zuzanna Muskat-Gorska


The article contextualises an emerging new regime for information privacy in South Africa (i.e. the draft Protection of Personal Information Bill). Subsequently, it discusses the possibility of successful implementation of international data-protection standards in an environment where there is an urgent need to balance HIV/AIDS confidentiality rights with public health requirements. Also, the article presents a preliminary assessment of the possible impact of professionalisation (and outsourcing) of workplace HIV/AIDS management on workplace data-protection practices, and it identifies some spaces for social dialogue on HIV/AIDS-data treatment in South Africa. The study methods comprise an analysis of legal documents (concerning international data-protection standards and the development of law governing data protection and HIV/AIDS confidentiality in South Africa) and interviews conducted with workplace health managers and trade union representatives, in Johannesburg, in 2007.

Keywords: database management; health information; informed consent; legal aspects; legislation; management systems; social dialogue; subject control

African Journal of AIDS Research 2008, 7(3): 311–322
AJOL African Journals Online