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Exploring disparities between global HIV / AIDS funding and recent tsunami relief efforts: an ethical analysis.
Developing World Bioethics. 2007; 7(1):1-7.The objective was to contrast relief efforts for the 26 December 2004 tsunami with current global HIV/AIDS relief efforts and analyse possible reasons for the disparity. Methods: Literature review and ethical analysis. Just over 273,000 people died in the tsunami, resulting in relief efforts of more than US$10 bn, which is sufficient to achieve the United Nation's long-term recovery plan for South East Asia. In contrast, 14 times more people died from HIV/AIDS in 2004, with UNAIDS predicting a US$8 bn funding gap for HIV/AIDS in developing nations between now and 2007. This disparity raises two important ethical questions. First, what is it that motivates a more empathic response to the victims of the tsunami than to those affected by HIV/AIDS? Second, is there a morally relevant difference between the two tragedies that justifies the difference in the international response? The principle of justice requires that two cases similarly situated be treated similarly. For the difference in the international response to the tsunami and HIV/AIDS to be justified, the tragedies have to be shown to be dissimilar in some relevant respect. Are the tragedies of the tsunami disaster and the HIV/AIDS pandemic sufficiently different, in relevant respects, to justify the difference in scope of the response by the international community? We detected no morally relevant distinction between the tsunami and the HIV/AIDS pandemic that justifies the disparity. Therefore, we must conclude that the international response to HIV/ AIDS violates the fundamental principles of justice and fairness. (author's)
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)