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  SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AND DISEASES: OLD AND NEW CHALLENGES - PART I 

Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2012 August;147(4):357-71

Copyright © 2012 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Legal aspects of sexually transmitted diseases: abuse, partner notification and prosecution

Argo A., Zerbo S., Triolo V., Averna L., D’anna T., Nicosia A., Procaccianti P.

Section of Legal Medicine, Department of Biopathology, Biotechnology and Forensic Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy


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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), with special emphasis to HIV infection, involve legal and ethical issues regarding informed consent to submit to a diagnostic, observance of professional secrecy in regard to partner(s) and community; legal troubles of particular difficulties are related to STD involving minors; lastly, physicians must be able to recognize the state of so called medical necessity. Knowledge and awareness of these related obligations are crucial to STD in medical practice; it is also important to allow for proper protection of victims of suspected sexual abuse under observation of healthcare. With regard to this aspect should be emphasized that violence against women and minors is a worldwide problem that has not yet been sufficiently acknowledged. Italian legislation (Law n. 96/1996) against rapes finally gave significant relevance to sex crimes. When sexual abusers have to be evaluated some obstacles may arise for lack of appropriate interdisciplinary approach, with insurance of the collection of biological samples, also related to STD diagnosis and alerts of legal authorities. Personal preconceptions may interfere with investigation if the biological evidences in children are few. In this regard, rules of document “Carta di Noto” drafted in 1996 and reviewed in July 2002 include some specific indications aiming to grant the reliability of the results of technical investigations and authenticity of the statements of the alleged victims.

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