Children 12 years or less can consent to HIV test, but public disclosure a no-no

Parents at a Port Elizabeth school are angry after their children were allegedly told their HIV test results in front of other pupils.

Senior Researcher at the Children's Institute University of Cape Town Dr Stefanie Rohrs says it is a breach of privacy and confidentiality to reveal someone's HIV status without their consent.

Dr Rohrs says if the results of the students tested at a Port Elizabeth school were revealed it constitutes an offence.

The students were tested by a Khethimpilo NGO and allegedly revealed the results in front of the other students.

The Children's Act makes very clear provisions of the confidentiality of the test results for children who are tested for HIV; so this would constitute an offence under the Children's Act if the test result has been disclosed without the consent of the children.

Dr Stefanie Rohrs, Senior Researcher at Children's Institute, University of Cape Town 

Dr Rohrs says the amendment of the Children's Act has provided for children as young as 12 years old to give consent for many medical procedures including the HIV test.

A child who is 12 years or older can consent without the parents consenting to have an HIV test.

Dr Stefanie Rohrs, Senior Researcher at Children's Institute University of Cape Town 

In terms of the HIV test, the Children's Act further states that even children younger than 12 years can consent to have an HIV test if they have sufficient maturity to understand what they are consenting to. So if they understand they risk and benefits of what they are consenting to, what the test means.

Dr Stefanie Rohrs, Senior Researcher at Children's Institute University of Cape Town 

Listen to what rights the parents have over this act


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