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Am J Public Health. 1998 April; 88(4): 637–640.
PMCID: PMC1508450

Informed consent for HIV testing in a South African hospital: is it truly informed and truly voluntary?


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess informed consent to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing in a perinatal HIV transmission study in a major referral hospital serving a largely Black population in South Africa. METHODS: First-time antenatal clinic attenders who were randomly selected from those enrolled in the perinatal HIV study (n = 56) answered questionnaires before and after counseling. RESULTS: Knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention, high at the outset, was little improved after counseling. The acceptance rate for HIV testing was high. Despite assurances that participation was voluntary, 88% of the women said they felt compelled to participate in the study. CONCLUSIONS: Informed consent in this setting was truly informed but not truly voluntary.

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Selected References

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