Confidentiality as value in the management of HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Mkosi, Barbara Nomsa (2000-12)

Thesis (M.Phil.)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: AIDS is the most important threat to world health. Recent years have seen a dramatic spread of HIVand AIDS in South Africa. Health education directed at modifying risk behaviour appears to be the only way in which the disease can be contained. Controlling AIDS is not only by controlling the virus, but also involves tackling social, economic and political issues and putting AIDS into the broader context of sexuality and gender roles. This requires a broader understanding of this aspect of HIV-AIDS ranging from population dynamics, through to research on individual behaviour and its socio-economic impact; so that we can dispel the myths and rumours that surround AIDS and answer searching questions that will be asked by the community. In South Africa, HIV-AIDS remains a stigmatized disease. There have been calls from courageous and influential people for those who are living with HIV-AIDS to be open about their status and to destigmatise the disease. Institutions too have been drawn into the controversy about whether to remain silent or speak out. Southern African Anglican bishops, as well as some politicians declared their intention to undergo testing for HIV status in order to sensitise the public to the seriousness of the epidemic. Were AIDS not regarded as intolerable, the entire issue of confidentiality would fall away. Calls to destigmatise the disease through openness cannot stand alone. Government must put effective treatment programmes in place. In the absence of treatment, AIDS may represent only frustration and hopelessness to those who test positive; and fear, danger and resultant animosity to those who are HIV negative. The text is in four chapters. Chapter 1 focuses on confidentiality as an important principle in the management of disease. In HIV -AIDS, confidentiality is a more sensitive issue as AIDS is particularly viewed as a social stigma, accompanied by discrimination and harassment. The chapter also addresses HIV infection, transmission, counseling and screemng. Chapter 2 deals with the principles of biomedical ethics namely, autonomy, to enable the patient to determine his/her course of treatment; informed consent, designed to protect the interests of patients from exploitation and harm, and encourage health professionals to act responsibly; beneficence and nonmaleficence, to protect the welfare of others; and justice, to ensure access to health care for all. It also highlights the aspects of and limitations to confidentiality. Chapter 3 discusses broadly the ethical dilemmas pertammg to professional-patient relationships, women and HIV-AIDS, religion, prisoners and employer-employee relationships. When the AIDS epidemic started, very few people suffered from the disease, and the disease was treated with great caution and confidentiality. Today, AIDS is a pandemic and emphasis should shift from the ethic of autonomy and confidentiality, to a social ethic, which emphasizes the responsibility of minimizing the risk of spread of infection. The chapter also examines the role of the Department of Health, the participation of health professional bodies and the legal aspects relating to confidentiality in HIV-AIDS. Chapter 4 attempts to construct an argument to destigmatise HIV-AIDS by arguing the responsibility of the government to make sufficient resources available for the treatment and control of the pandemic. Health professionals are challenged to engage their expertise and skills in the service of the sick with dignity and respect. The community is encouraged to support the drive towards controlling the spread of HIV infection and enable people living with AIDS to disclose their status without fear of harassment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Vigs is die gevaarlikste bedreiging van wéreldgesondheid. Die afgelope paar jaar het 'n dramatiese verspreiding van mv en VIGS in Suid-Afrika plaasgevind. Gesondheidsopvoeding wat gemik is op die verandering van risiko-gedrag is skynbaar die enigste metode wat die siekte kan beheer. Die kontrolering van VIGS is nie net die kontrolering van die virus nie, maar dit betref ook herbesinning oor sosiale, ekonomiese en politiese en geslagsrolle. Dit vereis 'n omvattender verstaan van hierdie aspek van HIV-VIGS, wat strek vanaf van bevolkingspatrone tot by die navorsing oor individuele gedrag en die sosio-ekonomiese impak van 19. So kan ons hopelik help om die mites rondom VIGS te besweer. In Suid-Afrika bly mV-VIGS 'n gestigmatiseerde siekte. Daar rus 'n veranbtwoordelikheid op invloedryke mense wat met mV-VIGS leef en wat as rolmodelle sou kon dien, om hul mv -status te openbaar en sodoeonde te help om die siekte te destigmatiseer. Instansies is ook by hierdie twispunt betrek om vas te stelof die mense moet praat of swyg. Suider-Afrikaanse Anglikaanse Biskoppe, asook somige politici het hulle intensies aangekondig om die mv -toets te ondergaan om sodoende die publiek te help opvoed oor die gevaar van hierdie epidemie. Oproepe om die siekte te destigmatiseer deur openbaarheid kan nie in isolasie funksioneer nie. Die staat moet effektiewe kuratiewe en voorkomingsprogramme hier rondom loods en kontinueer. In die afwesigheid van 'n geneesmiddel, sal VIGS slegs frustrasie, hopeloosheid, en vrees skep by diegene wat positief getoets is, sowel as vyandigheid onder diegene wat nie mv positief is nie. Die teks het vier hoofstukke. Hoofstuk 1 fokus op vertroulikheid as 'n belangrike beginsel in die bestuur van die siekte. In mV-VIGS is vertroulikheid 'n meer sensitiewe beginsel aangesien VIGS in die besonder as 'n sosiale skandvlek, aangevreet deur diskriminasie, gesien word. Die hoofstuk bespreek ook mv -infeksie, transmissie, raadgewing en toetsing. Hoofstuk 2 gaan oor die beginsels van die biomediese etiek, naamlik, outonomie, waaronder ingeligte toetstemming, ontwerp om die belange van die pasiente te beskerm teen eksploitasie en gevaar: om gesondheids professionele aan te moedig om hulle op 'n verantwoordelike manier te gedra. Ander beginsels is goedwilligheid en niekwaadwiligheid om die welsyn van ander te beskerm, asook geregtigheid, om toegang tot gesondheidshulp vir almal te verseker. Dit beklemtoon ook die aspekte verwant aan beperkinge tot vertroulikheid. Hoofstuk 3 bespreek breedweg die etiese dilemmas met betrekking tot die verhouding tussen pasiënye en professionele gesondheidswerkers, vrouens en mV-VIGS, godsdiens, gevangenes en werkgewer-werker verhoudings. Toe die VIGS-epidemie begin het, het min mense aan die siekte gely, en die siekte is met groot sorg en vertroulikheid behandel. Vandag is VIGS 'n pandemie en die klem moet geskuif word vanaf outonomie en vetrouilikheid na 'n sosiale etos wat verantwoordlikheid en die vermindering van die risiko van die verspreiding van die infeksie beklemtoon. Die hoofstuk kyk ook na die rolle van gesondheidsdepartmente, deelname van gesondheids professionele organisasies en die juridiese aspekte met betrekking tot vertroulikheid van HIV-VIGS. Hoofstuk 4 poog om 'n argument te ontwikkel wat daartoe sou kon bydra dat HIV-VIGS gedestigmatiseer sal word. Klem word gelê op die verabtwoordelikheid van die staat om soveel moontlike bronne beskikbaar te stel vir die behandeling van en beheer oor hierdie pandemie. Gesondheids professionele word uitgedaag om hulle deskundigheid en bekwaamheid in die diens van die siekes met waardigheid en respek te gebruik. Die gemeenskap word aangemoedig om die poging tot die beheer van die verspreiding van die HIV -infeksie te ondersteun en om die mense wat met VIGS leef in staat te stelom hul status sonder die dreigement van stigmatisering bekend te maak.

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