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Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.5131 - Regulations and guidelines regarding the release of information about serious communicable diseases or HIV infections and instances of AIDS

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Generally, individuals must keep confidential all HIV/AIDs related “reports, records, and data pertaining to testing, care, treatment, reporting [] research,” and partner notifications. Michigan does permit disclosure in limited circumstances according to the following rules:

  • The physician-patient privilege protects the provision and results of HIV/AIDs tests.
  • A court order may order the disclosure of HIV/AIDs information if the information is not otherwise available and the public benefit achieved by disclosing the information will outweigh the potential harm to the patient.  When disclosing such information, the court must minimize the potential for harm by only allowing the disclosure of “essential” information to persons that “need the information.”
  • Individuals may submit HIV/AIDs information to the Michigan legislature so long as the submitted material does not contain identifying information. 
  • An individual’s HIV/AIDs status may be disclosed to the department of community health, a local health department, or health care provider if the disclosure is necessary to protect an individual, prevent HIV transmission, care for a patient.
  • Physicians and health officers have a duty to disclose an individual’s HIV status to a “contact” of the individual if the physician or health officer believes that disclosure is “necessary to prevent a reasonably foreseeable risk” of HIV transmission. Physicians and health officers will satisfy this duty by referring patients to the local health department’s partner notification program.
  • The department of community health or a local health officer may disclose an individual’s HIV/AIDs status to a school district representative if they believe disclosure is “necessary to prevent a reasonably foreseeable risk of transmission of HIV to pupils in the school district.” The school district representative must keep this information confidential.
  • An individual or their legal guardian and the parent or legal guardian of a child may authorize, in writing, the disclosure of the individual’s HIV/AIDs status.
  • Additional statutory provisions permit disclosure in relation to the administration of HIV tests, partner notification, applications for marriage, arrests for sex and drug crimes, and exposure to bodily fluids while making an arrest or transmitting a patient to a hospital. Rules established in relation to the list of reportable diseases may also permit disclosure.
  • An individual’s HIV/AIDs status may be disclosed pursuant to the Child Protection Law.
  • The department of human services, the probate court, or a child placing agency may disclose an individual’s HIV/AIDs status to a child care organization in relation to the placement and care of a child.

An individual that permissibly discloses information may only include identifying information if “reasonably necessary to prevent a foreseeable risk” of HIV transmission. This limitation does not, however, apply to disclosures authorized by an individual or their representative, disclosures made under the child protection law, or disclosures made in relation to placing a child with a child care organization.

Individuals that release information in full compliance with the above provisions are immune from civil and criminal liability that would otherwise arise from the release of the information. Violations of the above provisions constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 1 year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The employer of  an individual that violates the disclosure laws will be subject to punishment unless they took “reasonable precautions designed to prevent the violation.”

Current as of June 2015