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HIV/AIDS: There Should Be Compulsory Testing and Labeling of People with HIV

HIV/AIDS has destroyed the nation to an extent inconceivable. our brothers and sisters have died a disastrous and painful death because of this unforgiving epidemic. friends families, labour force, intellectuals have died of this pandemic. Governments lack resources to prevent and there is no cure. we are yet to find a solutions. Certain governments such as Swaziland have wanted, in vein, to introduce labelling of HIV/AIDS infected individuals. however bad it may sound, it remains the short and long term solution to: first forcing every one to know their status, knowledge of the infected and protection of lives. It remains a solution to help the infected and protect further the affected. It is high time that governments take tough decisions an give tough love to its citezens.

the debate is about whether or not HIV infected people should be permanently labelled so that the community can them and protect themselves. I wish to raise it as follows: SHOULD THERE BE COMPULSORY TESTING AND LABELLING OF PEOPLE WITH HIV FOR THE PROTECTION OF SOCIETY?

Policy of going about implenting a policy of compulsory testing.

Every government sector shall be readily available to test.
All those those who access social grants, pensions and other public services.
A permanent stamp must be put on all those found positive. However that will be done after 2 tests – the first month and the third month.
Private sectors should play a role in establishing testing areas.

Lets make a controversial argument – Stigma.
Why do people stigmatise? they do so because they do not, first, know their status. second, they think they are no affected. they think their sisters, brothers, siblings, friends and extended families are not HIV positive. They stigmatise because they think it is the end of the world and a shame to those infected. this makes life for the living with aids a living hell. Some then decide to commit suicied. Some infect others so that they are not alone. It is important to note that once everybody knows that their close relatives and friends are Living with the virus. in the long run, the stigma will be gone. we shall live to accept our condition. we shall live to realise the importance of fighting the epidemic together as a nation. we shall know that it is no longer a government’s baby; but a disaster to the globe.

All the Yes points:

  1. Something radical needs to be done
  2. Priority must be on the knowledge of one’s status and ultimate protection of the affected; not rights

All the No points:

  1. Will it help?
  2. Labelling is against human rights

Something radical needs to be done

Yes because…

It is obvious that there need to be big changes in how we fight HIV/AIDS. Compulsory (presumably universal) testing is one thing that needs to be done if we are to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is however possible that the labeling will not be necessary if there is universal testing.

Dr Brian Williams
“The tragedy is that the disease continues unabated… We’ve been using drugs to save lives, but not stop the infection

[[Anti-retrovirals could halt Aids spread in five years, BBC News, 21/2/10, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8526690.stm%5D%5D Universal testing will mean that we can get to those who are infected earlier and can treat them as well as helping to prevent them infecting others. Having both them and others know that they are infected is part of this.

No because…

Dr Brian Williams
The only real success story is the development of these extremely effective drugs that keep people alive and reduce their viral load by up to 2,000 times. They become close to non-infectious.

While the rapid scale-up in the provision of ART [Anti-retroviral-treatment] in the last five years has exceeded expectations, it has not reduced HIV-transmission and Aids-related TB because it has been given too late in the course of infection.”

While the universal testing is obviously needed the labeling if the infection is caught early may well not be necessary because early detection and treatment would prevent transmission.[[Anti-retrovirals could halt Aids spread in five years, BBC News, 21/2/10, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8526690.stm%5D%5D

Priority must be on the knowledge of one’s status and ultimate protection of the affected; not rights

Yes because…

First, the proposition also gives and opportunity for one to know their status. But beyond that, it looks at how the affected can be protected from infections – whether the latter is deliberate or incidental. It is significant to note that one can not take responsibility for something they do not know anything about. The sonner they are forced to test, the better the chances of everyone knowing their status, and living a responsible life. There may be a serious need to label the infected in the interest of protecting the uninfected. If a woman falls in love with an HIV positive person, it is only fair that she knows the status of the boyfriend and vice versa – love is blind and governments should not live problems of this epidemic the to the idea of mere affections and lusts or even real love for that matter, if the latter was ever true in the 21st century.

The idea of a right to choice and privacy is far outweighed by the benefits of the implemantation of compulsory testing. It is unacceptable for one to delibarately hide his/her status when they know the implications for the larger society. Labelling therefore gives no chance for hiding behinds dangerous rights such as choice and privacy. When rights are problematic, they can be limited by logic and fair decisions.

As more people see the status of others, More people will be sceptical of delibarately engaging in unprotected sex and More HIV infected will receive immediate help from the state that knows the real than inaccurate statistics.

No because…

The real question is whether compulsory testing will find people who are infected faster. It would obviously logistically be impossible to have testing of everyone pretty much all the time and any sweep of compulsory testing would probably be once every few years at best so leaving people for years without knowing. If this can be combined with voluntary testing between times then this would be best but a good voluntary scheme needs a lot of resources to be avaliable as widely as possible and so will the compulsory scheme so as to keep it going. In poor countries it is likely that only one could be done.

Will it help?

No because…

It seems unlikely that compulsory testing and labelling will help much. One of the big problems is that many people dont ask or are in denial. If this was not the case then the problem would not be so big. People who are infected continue to infect others and unless there is something that would mark people with HIV out then it is unlikely to make much difference.

Yes because…

Labelling is against human rights

No because…

Even people with HIV have rights! if the labelling was made compulsory then it would be like the forcing of jews to wear a star of David. It would be a social stigma that shows who has HIV so encouraging discrimination and reducing the self esteme of those people.

Yes because…

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