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HIV / AIDS: Ethical, Legal, and Clinical Complexities in Psychotherapy with Clients with HIV/AIDS

10 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $90.00

Co-Developed by Tom Smith, Ph.D. and Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Course fulfills the Ethics and HIV-AIDS requirements in several states. Check with your state board.

This course is also offered as part of an Advanced Ethics Certificate Program of 71 CE Credits.

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

HIV/AIDS is a treatable disease, but still a fatal disease; that is to say, there is no cure. This being the case, when one receives a diagnosis of being HIV positive, it can be devastating. Seeking out counseling for this life changing circumstance can prevent a host of problems down the line. However, there are ethical issues that arise in the therapeutic relationship due to the nature of this stigmatic disease. This course intends to address the laws and ethics and clinical complexities that surround treating the HIV positive individual. Keep in mind that what is right or ethical may not be legal, and legal injunctions may not appear to be ethical. However, since the emergence of the disease over 25 years ago, following the codes of ethics of the various health disciplines, the laws in the various states, and maintaining informed clinical judgment and common sense can help resolve ethical issues.

In this intermediate course, firstly, HIV/AIDS, the law and human rights are addressed, focusing on laws regarding infection, reporting, testing, transmission, and treatment. Federal and California law are considered specifically with other state laws regarding criminal statues listed. International issues regarding criminalization of HIV/AIDS and guidelines for human rights are discussed. This is followed with the specific codes of ethics of various professional disciplines regarding competence and limits of confidentiality in treatment of clients with HIV/AIDS. Issues regarding informed consent, confidentiality, clarity regarding the duty to protect both the client and potential parties who are vulnerable to infection, duty to treat and finally, the determination of the patient's capacity and the probability of suicide, including arguments for and against assisted suicide and reasons to offer palliative care are discussed. The course concludes with a look at "special populations" and a few simple steps to ethical decision-making in treating clients with HIV/AIDS.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to:

1.    List the laws and professional codes of conduct as they relate to HIV/AIDS.

2.    Summarize the basics of HIV transmission, infection, treatment, and prevention.

3.    Explain "best practices" regarding confidentiality and the treatment of clients with HIV/AIDS.

4.    Describe the duties and obligations to protect, treat, and determine the clients' capacity.

5.    Summarize the issues that surround suicide, assisted suicide, and palliative care in the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS.

6.    Review the issues with "special populations" who are infected with HIV.

7.    Apply 10 simple steps to ethical decision-making in treating clients with HIV/AIDS.

Course Syllabus

Introduction and Overview

HIV/AIDS: The law and human rights

  • Good and bad laws, infection reporting, testing and transmission
  • Federal law: ADA
  • California Law regarding HIV: SB 699 and SB 705 and a pending court case
  • Other states
  • International Issues and Guidelines

Codes of ethics regarding competence and limits of confidentiality in treatment of clients with HIV/AIDS

Basic Information about clients who have HIV/AIDS: What clinicians should know

  • What HIV/AIDS is and how it is transmitted, infects, treated, and prevented
  • Statistics: Who has HIV/AIDS

Clinical, ethical, and treatment issues surrounding clients who have HIV/AIDS

  • Basics of treatment
    • Primary care of people with HIV/AIDS: Approaches to the patient
    • General best practices
  • Confidentiality & best practices
    • HIPAA
    • Best practices particular to HIV/AIDS
    • Written informed consent
    • Documentation
    • Issues of stigma and discrimination
    • Disclosure: Testing, treatment, employment, housing, insurance
  • Duties and obligations
    • To protect client and others
    • To treat the client
    • To determine client capacity
  • Suicide
    • Overview of issues
    • Curative, palliative, and hospice car
    • Arguments for and against assisted suicide
  • Special populations
    • Women
    • Youth
    • Older people
    • MSM: Men who have sex with men

Conclusion

References and Resources

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