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A report of a theological workshop focusing on HIV- and AIDS-related stigma, 8th-11th December 2003, Windhoek, Namibia. Supported by UNAIDS.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2005 Feb. 62 p. (UNAIDS/05.01E)Stigma is difficult to define. Generally, though, it implies the branding or labelling of a person or a group of persons as being unworthy of inclusion in human community, resulting in discrimination and ostracization. The branding or labelling is usually related to some perceived physical, psychological or moral condition believed to render the individual unworthy of full inclusion in the community. We may stigmatize those we regard as impure, unclean or dangerous, those who are different from ourselves or live in different ways, or those who are simply strangers. In the process we construct damaging stereotypes and perpetuate injustice and discrimination. Stigma often involves a conscious or unconscious exercise of power over the vulnerable and marginalized. The purpose of this document is to identify those aspects of Christian theology that endorse or foster stigmatizing attitudes and behaviour towards people living with HIV and AIDS and those around them, and to suggest what resources exist within Christian theology that might enable churches to develop more positive and loving approaches. It is not a theological statement, but rather a framework for theological thinking, and an opportunity, for church leaders, to pursue a deeper Christian reflection on the current crisis. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2000 Jul. 47 p. (UNAIDS Best Practice Collection. Key Material; UNAIDS/00.28E)Surveillance is the radar of public health. Nevertheless, its precise contours and justifications remain a matter of contention. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiological Surveillance Unit in the Division of Communicable Diseases has defined disease surveillance quite broadly, most public health authorities, such as the United States Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the World Health Assembly, typically identify three key elements of surveillance. Surveillance involves the ongoing, systematic collection of health data, the evaluation and interpretation of these data for the purpose of shaping public health practice and outcomes, and the prompt dissemination of the results to those responsible for disease prevention and control. Surveillance, then, encompasses more than just disease reporting. "The critical challenge in public health surveillance today," conclude two prominent figures who have helped to define surveillance in the United States, "remains the ensurance of its usefulness." Two issues emerge from this understanding of surveillance. The first entails a question of efficacy. The second involves matters of privacy. Although conceptually distinct, the two are nevertheless intimately related. While the necessities of surveillance may justifiably limit some elements of privacy, such limitations are only justifiable to the extent that they in fact benefit the public's health. (excerpt)
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 2003 Nov 8; 327:1101-1103.Over the past 20 years, the public health community has learnt a tremendous amount about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Yet, despite widespread discussion about the epidemic and some measurable progress, the overall response has been insufficient: globally 42 million people are already infected with HIV, prevalence continues to rise, and less than 5% of those affected have access to lifesaving medicines. In the face of this growing crisis, the World Health Organization has made scaling up treatment a key priority of the new administration. We argue that not only is the HIV/AIDS epidemic an emergency, but its devastating effects on societies may qualify it as one of the most serious disasters to have affected humankind. As such, this crisis warrants a full disaster management response. (excerpt)
AIDS and Society. 1989 Oct; 1(1):5-6.Gerald Desmond, Secretary of the United Nations Standing Committee on AIDS, was interviewed in New York by Richard Rockwell, Associate Editor of the Bulletin. (excerpt)
Report of an International Consultation on AIDS and Human Rights. Geneva, 26-28 July 1989. Organized by the Centre for Human Rights with the technical and financial support of the World Health Organization Global Programme on AIDS.
New York, New York, United Nations, 1991. iii, 57 p.In July 1989, ethicists, lawyers, religious leaders, and health professionals participated in an international consultation on AIDS and human rights in Geneva, Switzerland. The report addressed the public health and human rights rationale for protecting the human rights and dignity of HIV infected people, including those with AIDS. Discrimination and stigmatization only serve to force HIV infected people away from health, educational, and social services and to hinder efforts to prevent and control the spread of HIV. In addition to nondiscrimination, another fundamental human right is the right to life and AIDS threatens life. Governments and the international community are therefore obligated to do all that is necessary to protect human lives. Yet some have enacted restrictions on privacy (compulsory screening and testing), freedom of movement (preventing HIV infected persons from migrating or traveling), and liberty (prison). The participants agreed that everyone has the right to access to up-to-date information and education concerning HIV and AIDS. They did not come to consensus, however, on the need for an international mechanism by which human right abuses towards those with HIV/AIDS can be prevented and redressed. International and health law, human rights, ethics, and policy all must go into any international efforts to preserve human rights of HIV infected persons and to prevent and control the spread of AIDS. The participants requested that this report be distributed to human rights treaty organizations so they can deliberate what action is needed to protect the human rights of those at risk or infected with HIV. They also recommended that governments guarantee that measures relating to HIV/AIDS and concerning HIV infected persons conform to international human rights standards.
New York, New York, United Nations Children's Fund [UNICEF], 1990. 24 p.In some parts of Africa, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has infected between 1/5 and 1/4 of otherwise healthy adults of reproductive age. This is a calamity. Those who are fighting AIDS in Africa believe that changes in behavior are the only way to stop the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). WHO estimates that already 6.5 million people are infected; at least 2 million are women. By the year 2000, there will be 6 million AIDS cases. The UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has been fighting to protect children and women from AIDS since 1987. Looked at here is the predicament of children and women in 3rd world countries. Also, the damage that AIDS is doing to families and communities and the need to contain it are discussed. Most AIDS cases in children are perinatal in origin. Barrier contraception is important in preventing the spread of AIDS. Deliberate family planning (FP) with modern contraceptive methods is unusual in most low-income African communities. Women frequently have less access to medical services than do men. The number of AIDS orphans is already beginning to affect family life. UNICEF estimates that worldwide 30 million children spend most of their time on the streets. They are then ripe for getting AIDS. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are being formed in response to AIDS. The primary health care structure is important for counselling and health education. During 1990 UNICEF plans to spend over US $6 million on special AIDS projects in Africa and almost US $2 million on global projects and projects elsewhere. In many countries UNICEF has helped develop information and education materials. UNICEF wants to reach young people. In Tanzania, workshops have been held to improve the accuracy of data given about AIDS.
NETWORK. 1990 Apr; 11(2):5-7,20.Safe and adequate blood supplies are needed, especially in high Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence rate areas. Tests for HIV are available in most developing countries today. Much virus screening is taking place. The best way to control HIV's transmission is to establish a blood transfusion system (BTS). Proper storage, distribution, collection, and testing of blood must be done. Trained technicians and appropriate criteria for using transfusions should be included in any BTS. Establishing a central BTS requires much money and the national government must be committed to it. In 1988, WHO started the Global Blood Safety Initiative (GBSI) in conjunction with others. It's objective is to support integrated BTSs in all countries. 8 countries have been chosen for priorities, to develop BTSs. GBSI is also working in other countries to train technicians, get blood donors, and prevent HIV infections. A major problem in most developing countries is adequate blood supplies. In rural areas, many transfusions come from family members. Blood can be screened, and results given in 10-15 minutes. Large city hospitals can use ELISH HIV testing. It requires a 1-day wait for results but costs < the faster tests. Paid donors do not like blood screening, because it may lead to loss of income. Large countries need to use testing facilities in different regions. But smaller ones can use a centralized system, if they have good transportation. In November, 1989 a workshop was held in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, to set up appropriate blood transfusion guidelines. 45 physicians and blood bank managers took part. 9 of the 10 provinces were represented. The conference concluded that the number of transfusions should be reduced, and volunteer donors should be sought. In February, 1990 more than 700 Romanian children had been infected with HIV. This may have been caused by injecting adult blood into young babies who appear anemic. This is known as microtransfusion and health officials have banned it.