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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Bioethics: Choosing Our Words About AIDS




 

San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle (11/12/89), P. D-19

Accuracy, sensitivity, and objectivity are three good reasons to choose words carefully, writes Bruce Hilton, especially when discussing disenfranchised HIV-infected people. He writes that the difference between HIV-infection and full-blown AIDS is important. People with AIDS are eligible for some state and federal benefits, whereas symptom-free HIV-infected people often lose jobs through bias without legal recourse. Names of people with AIDS are reported to public health authorities; the names of HIV carriers are confidential by law. Furthermore, he writes, people with AIDS are not "victims," helpless and pitiful, so "it's time...[to] get rid of the phrase, 'AIDS victim.'" Finally, the use of the term "innocent" to denote babies born with HIV infection implies that some people are guilty, Hilton writes, an inappropriate judgment in response to illness and death and a term related to the belief that gay sex is a sin.



 


Copyright © 1989 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.



Information in this article was accurate in November 12, 1989. 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.