chapter  21
29 Pages

Human Rights and Public Health Ethics Responding to the Global HIV/AIDS)S Pandemic

WithJonathan Cohen, Nancy Kass, Chris Beyrer

The global pandemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome remains the most important infectious disease threat to human health of our time. This chapter explores three examples of public health interventions designed to reduce the spread of HIV infection, and/or mitigate its impact. The first is the use of condoms and safer sex messages for HIV prevention. The second is the routinization of HIV testing as a means of streamlining HIV surveillance, and access to treatment and care. The final one is the effort to provide antiretroviral treatment in an equitable and nondiscriminatory manner. Through these examples, the chapter illustrates that the tools of both human rights and public health ethics should be used to examine the appropriateness of any public health proposal, program, or investigation, and used as a means of improving such undertakings before implementation. However, governments' belief that they have a responsibility to care for the health of their public varies strikingly from country to country.