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AIDS and Women: Remaining Ethical Issues

NCJ Number
AIDS Education and Prevention Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1989) Pages: 22-30
N K Bell
Date Published
9 pages
The prevalence of HIV infection in the male homosexual population has resulted in inattention to the impacts of AIDS and HIV on women and the ethical issues related to condom use, intravenous drug use, and reproductive options.
Homophobia and racism have led to an avoidance of confronting the problem of HIV infection in women and of the social issues underlying the disparities between racial groups in the risk for AIDS. In addition, many of the recommendations for AIDS education and condom use fail to address the experience of women. Women have long been told that condom use is not an effective means of birth control, but are now being told that condom use will effectively prevent AIDS transmission. In addition, public health messages recommending condom use have conveyed the impression that the male sexual experience is the main focus. Moreover, efforts to address AIDS among intravenous drug users are not protecting their female sex partners. Finally, mandatory HIV testing and other proposals are not appropriate responses to the issues related to the rights of prospective mothers and fetal rights. Future policymaking should approach AIDS like any other public health issue and should create a moral climate in which AIDS testing involves no stigma, men respect a woman's right to remain healthy, and avoiding exposing partners to AIDS is taken for granted. 32 references.


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