1.) Medical disclosure is termed as the act in which one releases, transfers, provides or has unauthorised access to protected health Information of a particular individual (s) without the individuals consent. In Botswana,
the Public Health Act of 2013, is used as a guide on when and who may disclose health information of another individual.

2.) Under section 115(1) the Public Health Act notes that-
a). A person shall not disclose information about the result of an HIV test including the HIV or HIV antibody status, the sexual behaviour of a person or the use of drugs by a person to any except-
a.)With consent of that person.
b) Where the person died, with the consent of the person’s partner, representative or executive.
c.)Where the person is under 16 with consent of a parent.
d) Where the person has a disability which renders that person incapable of giving consent with the consent of a parent or guardian.
e.)To an approved health worker, medical practitioner, dental practitioner or nurse who is directly involved in the treatment of counselling that person
f.)For the purpose of research authorised by a minister.
g.)To a court where information in medical records directly relevant in proceedings or; Where authorised or required to do so under this act.

3.) Although disclosure is legal in in Botswana, it has lethal potential to steer up stigma and discrimination not only on the victim but also the victims loved ones. This in turn may lead to suicide, cyber bullying, emotional distress and depression.

4) That notwithstanding, disclosure, has potential to de-stigmatise HIV/AIDS by way of normalising HIV/AIDS as a health condition like any other. Public figures, influencers and celebrities may choose to disclose their HIV status with the view to address stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and this should be celebrated and encouraged.

5.) BONELA continues to engage communities by conducting campaigns aimed at addressing stigma and discrimination. BONELA also provides free legal services for victims of stigma and discrimination.

For more information, contact BONELA on: Katlego Sechele at ksechele@bonela.org or 72282025 | Cindy Kelemi at cindyk@bonela.org or 72385054
 Published 03 March 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/documents/useanddisclosure-jax-pdf/doc-20079525