In your initial post, explain how the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct can be used to guide decisions in this ethically complex situation. Provide a suggested course of action for the clinic staff. Given the daughter’s age and the situation presented, integrate concepts developed from different psychological content domains to support your suggested course of action. Be certain to use evidence-based psychological concepts and theories to support your arguments. You may wish to consider the following questions as you construct your post. Does the daughter have a right to know her diagnosis? Does the mother have a right to not disclose the diagnosis to her daughter? Does the mother have a right to privacy regarding her own diagnosis, which could be threatened if her daughter learns of her own status? Should the staff tell the daughter if the mother does not want her to know? If the daughter wants to know more about her condition, what should the staff say? Are there other approaches the staff can take? If so, what are they? Is further information required in order for you to create an ethically sound suggested course of action?
Client 1: Tina, a 36-year-old HIV-positive Latina woman
Client 2: Tina’s daughter, 12-year-old Victoria (also HIV positive)
Tina became infected through a former boyfriend who had a history of intravenous drug use. Tina gave birth to an HIV-positive daughter, Victoria. Tina does not want Victoria to know that either of them has HIV.
Victoria is now 12 years old and has been told by her mother that she takes medications for “a problem in her blood.” Recently, Victoria stated that she does not like taking the medication and occasionally misses doses. The clinic staff has raised the issue of whether Victoria should be told about her diagnosis. They’ve warned Tina that in the near future, Victoria will be at an age at which girls often become more interested in boys or sexual behavior. The clinic’s therapist feels that if Victoria knew her diagnosis she might be more adherent to her regimen of medications. However, Tina absolutely does not want her daughter to know. Tina believes Victoria is still too young and will be emotionally devastated. Tina believes that it is her responsibility — and only her responsibility as a mother — to “protect” her child, and that her daughter is “not ready” to know. Tina also believes that Victoria is “a good girl” and will not be sexually active until she is married.
The clinic’s therapist thinks Tina’s guilt about having transmitted the virus to her daughter is causing her to take this stance. Still, the clinic staff is concerned and wants Tina to reconsider. This situation presents several ethical dilemmas and requires further consultation.