Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is a well-known fact that the sub-Saharan Africa is a continent most affected by HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has in other words become our disease. For many of us, this fact may be difficult to fully accept. There are elements of prejudice in our reactions. Ignorance and intolerance can be found around the world. Therefore, by presenting the facts about HIV/AIDS, this assignment challenges the misconceptions and focuses on the profound dilemmas confronting society. I think the success in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic could be found in President Thabo Mbeki's terminology "Partnership against HIV/AIDS". In his speech, the President appealed to both the private and public sectors and all South Africans to work together with greater determination than before to fight against HIV infection and AIDS. Arguably, this was the best speech President Thabo Mbeki ever made on HIV/AIDS on October 9, 1998. Back then, the government seems to have had a direction and led from the front in the battle against HIV/AIDS. The title of this thesis reads: "Ethical perspectives on surveillance and preventive strategies for HIV/AIDS in South Africa". Presently, the South African Government through the Ministry of Health is seriously considering making AIDS a notifiable medical condition. This is a serious and a controversial move that has serious ethical and legal implications that will be discussed. Should partners of HIV-infected individuals be informed? If the answer is on the affirmative, who should inform them? I am also looking at the ethical obligation of health care workers to treat HIV/AIDS patients despite the fear of being accidentally infected. Tough questions need to be asked. Should health workers be informed of the HIV status of every patients they treat? On the other hand, some patients have some fears too that HIV-infected health professionals may infect them. Again, the fundamental ethical concerns related to confidentiality, privacy, the right to treatment will also be discussed. The country is divided on this issue. Ethical principles are directly involved in such a decision, for instance, the principle of confidentiality, respect for autonomy and informed consent. How can the government go about implementing this without disregarding these fundamental ethical requirements?Another ethical issue that comes to mind regarding HIV/AIDS concerns AIDS vaccine trials, which are so far dominantly manufactured in 'developed countries' while subjects of these trials are from 'third world' or 'developing countries '. The ethical concerns here are: How will informed consent be protected, especially where subjects of the trials are not educated and do not understand the terms used? What are the cost-effects or benefits of such trials? What are the risks involved? Together with this, other issues include ethical debates concerning market prices of drugs, which are too expensive for poorer countries and affordable for richer countries. Finally, this work does not treat everything that needs to be dealt with insofar as HIV/AIDS is concerned. However, I hope that this thesis will contribute (in a small way) in making people appreciate the ethical dilemmas that are presented by HIV/AIDS.|
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