The Legal Environment of Sexual Health Care Practice
SEXUAL HEALTH: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH, Meredith Temple-Smith, ed., IP Communications: Australia, 2014
26 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2013 Last revised: 20 Mar 2015
Date Written: July 8, 2013
This paper reviews some of the most important laws, legal duties and practical dilemmas that arise for Australian health professionals working in sexual health care practice. It begins by highlighting the scope of the duty of care that arises under the common law, both to the immediate patient of a health care worker, and to the sexual partner(s) of the patient. It then turns to the largely legislative duties that protect patients from discrimination, and which regulate the surveillance and notification of STIs, mandatory testing, counseling and contact tracing, and confidentiality. It also reviews how three Australian jurisdictions (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria) deal with “hard cases”: circumstances where a patient continues to place their wife, husband, or other sexual partner(s) at risk of STI transmission, despite counseling.
Keywords: public health law, sexual health, sexually transmissible infections, regulation, health professional, communicable diseases
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation