Debating Public Health and HIV/AIDS

  • Read the entire Scenario
  • Compose reflection paper and address the following questions:
  • Why do you feel the way you do about the issue presented?
  • Of the four responses offered in the scenario, which do you feel is the most ethical and why?

(My response: Dr Meadows is correct. We need to start with the least invasive approaches, such as awareness campaigns. Abstinence campaigns also present no cost to personal liberties, and should be part of that plan. There is no question that abstinence works, no sex means no STD. The last thing we want to do is to encourage even more promiscuity than already exists. I also agree with Dr Meadows that we have to address this problem in terms of tackling the supply chain problem and getting more condoms out to more people. There is a real difficulty in getting people to change long held beliefs that prevent them from seeing that condom distribution is ethical. HIV education, condom availability, and voluntary testing should lead the charge here. And we should always first consider testing programs that we can implement with the least possible harm to personal freedoms, such as using codes rather than names to identify patients in order to keep their health information private and protected.) – DO NOT INCLUDE THIS PARAGRAPH IN THE PAPER. BUT REWORD IT INSTEAD.

  • Support your conclusions with evidence and specific examples from textbook, as well as other sources as needed.
  • Reflection must be 1-2 pages in length and follow 7th edition APA format

Annual Ethics Symposium Scenario: Debating Public Health and HIV / AIDS

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Speakers: Dr Catherine Williams and Dr Robin Meadows

Moderator: The HIV and the AIDS present massive, global threats to human health. And, discussions about HIV and AIDS bring up many ethics issues based on the marginalized populations most affected by the disease, because HIV and AIDS are tied to poverty, the sex trade, and other social issues that make progress difficult and education essential. The question we will be discussing today is, “What immediate course or courses of action should we take to slow the spread of HIV and AIDS in Africa?” We would like to come to a consensus on this matter and publicize our recommendations.

We will begin with Dr Meadows

Dr Meadows: We need to get more condoms into the less developed areas of Africa, where AIDS is running rampant. Condom use decreases the likelihood of contracting HIV tenfold. We also need to address real-wrold issues such as resistance in the supply chain. Of course we want to stress education above all else, but education alone is nowhere near effective enough to combat this problem.

 

Dr Williams: I agree that condom use is vital but we also need to implement mandatory HIV testing in some areas. It is potentially intrusive, but without it, no practical way exists to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. Mandatory testing would bring huge benefits to both individuals and society as the early detection and treatment of HIV has proven to be a successful way to limit the transmission of the virus to others, and to improve the survival rates of HIV positive patients. You mentioned resistance issues with the condom supply chain, and I agree. Some of the charitable organizations currently distributing goods in Africa refuse to distribute condoms for religious reasons, so we can’t depend on condom distribution alone. People who don’t undergo testing will remain ignorant of their status and will continue to spreads the infection in the community.

Question from the audience: How many people are infected with HIV?

Dr Williams: According to the World Health Organization there were about 2.3 million new infections in 2012, worldwide. That’s more than 6,300 new HIV infections per day.

Dr Meadows: Circumventing a supply problem by committing a human rights violation is not an ethical solution, Dr Williams. Mandatory HIV testing would have disastrous consequences for a person whose results are disclosed publically. It would expose HIV-positive people to stigmas and dangers related to their professions, sexual orientations, or other fears. A mandatory HIV-testing strategy ignores basic human rights to privacy and confidentiality as well as the concept of informed consent. Testing should happen, but it needs to be voluntary, accessible, and available with a guarantee that identifying information will not be released without consent.

Dr Meadows: Mandatory testing is a violation of human rights and cannot be our position. Voluntary testing, education, and condom distribution are the best ways to address this issue.

Dr Williams: Distributing condoms won’t help if people don’t use them. If we make testing mandatory, individuals who are infected will realize that they need to use condoms.

 

Considering these responses, choose the one you believe to be the most ethical.

My response: Dr Meadows is correct. We need to start with the least invasive approaches, such as awareness campaigns. Abstinence campaigns also present no cost to personal liberties, and should be part of that plan. There is no question that abstinence works, no sex means no STD. The last thing we want to do is to encourage even more promiscuity than already exists. I also agree with Dr Meadows that we have to address this problem in terms of tackling the supply chain problem and getting more condoms out to more people. There is a real difficulty in getting people to change long held beliefs that prevent them from seeing that condom distribution is ethical. HIV education, condom availability, and voluntary testing should lead the charge here. And we should always first consider testing programs that we can implement with the least possible harm to personal freedoms, such as using codes rather than names to identify patients in order to keep their health information private and protected.

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