Patients with HIV or serious sexually transmitted infections might be told they can expect to have their condition revealed to others, depending on the results of a Department of Health consultation.

Patients with HIV or serious sexually transmitted infections might be told they can expect to have their condition revealed to others, depending on the results of a Department of Health consultation.

HIV status could be disclosed to sexual partners deemed to be at risk or to other agencies, including the police. The department aims to 'clarify policy on disclosure of information on sexually transmitted infections, including HIV'. It says: 'It will benefit those who use services in that they will know what to expect.'

The consultation has been welcomed by the Terrence Higgins Trust. Head of policy Lisa Power said: 'This is a critically important issue which is brought into stark relief by recent prosecutions of people for transmitting HIV.

'We are extremely concerned about the confusion which exists amongst some clinicians about rights and responsibilities, particularly as these cases often rely on information held in medical records.'

The DoH says that sexual health professionals have sought clarification on the circumstances when they might need to reveal confidential information, both with and without the patient's consent.

www.dh.gov.uk/consultations