Dear Ajarn Jittima and Ajarn Yupaporn
I am facing an ethical issue in my research. We are planning to investigate household members of HBV carrier participants. We would like to counsel the family member to prevent further transmission in the household. However, I thought informing who is positive could cause conflict as HBV can sexually transmit. It will be a balance between confidentiality, the benefit of sharing infection status with family members, and the risk of creating conflict or social stigma.
We will have both a positive case as an index case from the screening and a positive family member from the household investigation. For the index case, it would be practically difficult not to inform the index case’s infection status to the family members. How the process should be in case we need to share the serology results with participants’ family members? Should it be individually considered based on his/her request during the study?