Discrimintation of AIDS patients
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Discrimintation of AIDS patients
AIDS, or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome has been one of the most threatening diseases of the 20th century. Ever since it has been discovered in 1981, it has been constantly infecting men, women, adults, newly born children, homosexuals and heterosexuals. In definition AIDS is an extremely serious disorder that results from severe damage to the body’s defense against disease. Even though AIDS was born in an era of sophisticated medical and surgical developments, it still remains incurable. The ways through which the HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, can be transmitted are: blood transfusion, contaminated needles used in drug addiction, from an infected husband to his wife through sexual intercourse, or from an infected mother to her new born baby during pregnancy. Because it is that much spread and so far incurable, AIDS has aroused a lot hysterical fears and a number of controversies and ethical questions related to the patient’s rights, doctor’s rights and the right of the public at large. While some people think that AIDS patients should be isolated in quarantines, alienated from the rest of the world, others find no reason in this harsh form of separation and discrimination against the infected patients. The patients must also have the right to lead a normal life that must be respected by all the public, and government too. Although AIDS is not more contagious than any other disease, its patients are suffering both social and medical discrimination, and that is not only unethical but could also cause an increase in the spread of the disease. The fact that AIDS is no more contagious than any other disease, makes the reasons behind the people’s fear of AIDS totally illogical. All people are thinking of is that it’s a deadly virus, but there is a lot more to know about AIDS than this. People must be more educated about this virus and how it may be transmitted in order to protect themselves and avoid their constant paranoia about AIDS patients. AIDS, unlike many diseases, is not transmitted by shaking hands, or through coughs, or by swimming in the same pool with an HIV positive. It has also been proven that even the exposure to body fluids such as saliva through deep kissing wouldn’t transmit the virus. This is because the HIV is found to be very weak in open air; it can easily be killed by ordinary household disinfectants (Kelly 33-34). In a study conducted by Friedland in 1986, he studied one hundred and one men and women who were caring for 41 AIDS patients and engaged in all forms of contact with them. They helped AIDS patients with many details in their daily life like bathing, dressing, eating, and sharing toilets, bath and kitchen. The study has proven that daily interaction with AIDS patients doesn’t put others at a high risk of infection (Kelly 34-35). Compared to other diseases, like hepatitis B, the risk of developing AIDS is lower under similar conditions. For example, the risk of AIDS transmission through needless is “ not more than 0.9% while risk of hepatitis B is 17% (Reamer 194). Therefore, there are no scientifically grounded reasons for the hysterical attitudes and panicky overreactions towards AIDS patients. However, despite these facts, AIDS patients still suffer a lot of discrimination and rejection by a society which affects the patient’s social, physical and psychological aspects of life. HIV positives suffer a lot of discrimination from the public at large, as well as receive harsh attitudes and maltreatment, disrespecting their pride and that they are humans who still have some rights. Once they are labeled as AIDS patients, they lose their jobs, rented apartments, and many other social services; in addition, they become rejected by the family circles and friends and even expelled from schools or universities. Unfortunately, these changes don’t only affect the patients but they expand to further affect their children’s lives, if there were any. Andrea Walton, who is a 48-year-old married woman, got infected with the HIV through a blood transfusion, in 1981, after she was married. As soon as she found out about her condition, she was divorced and forced to leave her work. “It’s difficult being a women with AIDS,” she says, “we don’t
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