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Ethical concerns about AIDS.


Pharos. 1990 Spring;53(2):7-11. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE

The HIV/ARC/AIDS story continues to unfold. It is both the old, sadly familiar experience of plague and disease, of lepers isolated as unclean, of smallpox decimating the American Indians, of a Black Death sweeping medieval Europe, of the 1918 influenza. It is also a new story, one in which medical scientists rather quickly identified the causative infectious agent but, as yet, have been unable to cure the infection, although some amelioration of the basic course of the illness appear possible if treatment with AZT is begun relatively early. The ethical problems are numerous and constantly change as the understanding of the disease and its potency evolves. The social answers have, after initial delay, received positive action on an official level. On the more personal level of the average American there remains animosity, prejudice, and a deeply rooted fear, the ancient fear of the leper, of the plague victim. The health professionals have also officially responded well to the challenge of AIDS. Personally, as in society generally, there has been a mixed response. We believe that the ethical concerns enumerated in this article will be resolved in favor of persons with AIDS. Nevertheless, the personal, spiritual, emotional, and economic isolation experienced by persons with AIDS and their families challenge us about what kind of society we wish to be. We will ultimately be measured as a civilization by the way in which we treated the least fortunate. America's track record in this regard has been mixed. AIDS presents us with a chance to change.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/*PREVENTION & CONTROL/ PSYCHOLOGY/THERAPY Attitude of Health Personnel *Attitude to Health Confidentiality *Ethics, Medical Human Human Experimentation Informed Consent Mass Screening/ECONOMICS/LEGISLATION & JURISPRUD Prejudice United States JOURNAL ARTICLE


Information in this article was accurate in August 30, 1990. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.