HIV is a reportable communicable disease in North America; however, some nurses are confused about the extent of their professional obligations regarding a duty to protect population health. Nurses’ uncertainties can be related to whether they have a “duty to warn” persons at risk of contracting HIV (for example, from a partner who has not disclosed his/her HIV status) and their duty to report a communicable disease.

Understanding what nurses know about HIV-related criminal laws is necessary for the development of training programs to enhance their abilities to provide care to persons living with and at risk of acquiring HIV and to effectively manage the HIV epidemics in North America.

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