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Medical Confidentiality And Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection: A Hypothetical Case
  1. Air Cdr T M Gibson, PhD MPhil MB ChB FFOM DAvMed DDAM FRAeS RAF(Retd), Deputy Medical Director1 and
  2. Air Cdr W J Coker, OBE QHP BA(Hons) BSc(Hons) MB ChB LLB(Hons) FRCP DAvMed FRAeS RAF, Deputy Director2
  1. 1Corporate Health Ltd, The Buckingham centre, Slough, SL1 4PG mikegibson{at} mikegibson{at}
  2. 2Aviation Medicine (RAF) Headquarters Personnel and Training Command, Royal Air Force Innsworth, Gloucester, GL3 1EZ ddavmed{at} cokerwjan{at}


This paper describes a hypothetical case of a HIV positive pilot. It explores legal and ethical aspects of medical confidentiality and discusses who, inside and outside military and medical circles, can be told of his condition in the light of the particular circumstances. Disclosure without the patient’s consent is a serious step that should not be undertaken without advice from Service medico-legal departments and medical protection organisations.

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