What precautions does the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare take regarding privacy protection for persons infected with HIV?
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare acknowledges that persons infected with HIV are discriminated against in society. Therefore the ministry has been particularly focused on privacy protection of infected persons when they use medical services. (*See Note)
Special considerations are taken for procedures such as processing at municipal bureaus, correspondence procedures and private information management.
(*Note) Reference: "Immune function disorders due to the human immunodeficiency virus," Guidance to persons with disabilities (revised version) by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, December 2001
Can confidential information be protected?
The National Civil Service Law and the Local Public Service Law stipulate that people who work for administrative agencies, whether they are full-time workers or part-time workers, must not leak any information obtained as a result of their work, even after their retirement. This obligation is often called the confidentiality obligation. People working for offices related to administrative agencies are also correspondingly governed by public service laws.
People working for medical institutions are governed by the confidentiality obligation under the Medical Law. The Law Concerning the Prevention of Infections and Medical Care for Patients of Infections has punitive clauses in Articles 73 and 74. Thus, a system is in place where infected persons' confidentialities have complete legal protection.
Regarding the certification of physical disability for persons infected with HIV, thorough privacy protection, at an extraordinary level, is emphasized. Workers at administrative agencies are further obliged to make every effort to maintain privacy.