Discrimination of HIV/AIDS-positive people in medical field and in society is morally wrong In the rural area of Nigeria, an AIDS patient cut his hand and, when he went to the closest hospital to bandage it, the doctors kept transferring him from one outpatient department to another medical ward, then to another one because they did not want to get infected from him. He offered them money, and only after long debates, they took the money from him with tongs (Cao 522).
This is just one example out of many of discrimination against HIV-positive people. Today in society, there is a big ethical issue question concerning stigma and discrimination of HIV/AIDS patients and their rights and standing in the community. There are many types of discrimination such as discrimination in health care and in the surrounding community. These acts lead to very harsh and dangerous consequences.
Discrimination of HIV/AIDS patients in health care field and in society is morally wrong because such unthoughtful actions of people result in negative consequences: HIV-positive people lose important and fair health care and medical check up; a further spreading of the disease happens; and emotional trauma, like depression, is observed. Discrimination against HIV-positive patients is morally wrong because when medical staff refuses to treat these patients, it results in the first negative consequence such as the loss of health care and regular check up by HIV-positive patients.
This first type of stigma occurs due to the lack of information on how the disease spreads. People simply do not know all the facts and use misconceptions to advocate their actions when they act unfairly and do not provide all the medical services to the HIV-positive person, such as not admit the patient, or make them wait 2 longer, or put them in a separate room (Cao 522). A study in Nigeria by Reis and his colleagues show the devastating numbers that support the fact that medical assistance is refused to the AIDS patients, and furthermore, sometimes they are not even admitted to the hospital (Letamo 715).
According to the study, out of 1,021 health-care professionals “43% observed others [doctors] refusing a patient with HIV/AIDS admission to hospital” and “[t]wo-thirds [doctors] reported observing other health professionals refusing to care for a patient with HIV/AIDS” (Letamo 715). These numbers give a clear picture of how these patients are neglected and have very little medical attention. Another research was conducted in China concerning the problem of neglect of HIV-positive patients in medical field.
The example shows that many of the pregnant HIV-positive women were “asked to leave the hospital … and no doctor wanted to operate on them” (Cao 522). Moreover, these women were in a dangerous medical situation, but because of the misconceptions and discrimination, they were denied any medical help. There are many more examples like that through out the world, but mainly this problem concerning refuse of medical care to AIDS patients happens in poor countries, where there is lack of knowledge and experience.
These countries are mainly situated in Africa and Asia. Since the patients with this disease receive little medical attention, they tend to keep it a secret and therefore the disease spreads even more. Discrimination against HIV-positive patients by society is morally wrong because it results in the results consequence, which is the emotional impact such as depression from the stigma on the HIV- positive victims. There are many cases when AIDS victims are ignored, avoided, or isolated by people that surround them.
One of the examples is a case from Cao’s research in China, where an HIV-positive villager sat down at a table and people who were sitting there got up and change the tables (521). Another example from the same study is the isolation of an HIV-positive person by the rest of the family members while eating at home. These examples 3 are just a couple out of many that happen nowadays in various countries, but especially in the third-world ones. Most of such cases of discrimination by society occur because of the fear and the lack of knowledge about the disease.
Usually, the community uses misconceptions to advocate their actions. Many people base their reasoning on moral and religious beliefs such as a person with HIV/AIDS did something immoral such as promiscuity or ‘deviant sex’ and deserves to suffer from the disease (Fredriksson 2). However, what community does not realize is that not all people who have AIDS did something immoral. Someone might have gotten it from a parent, someone might have received it by accident through blood, someone might been engaged in sexual activity with a HIV-positive person but was not aware of that.
Things like that happen very often. So, now these victims have to suffer from “extreme rejection and alones” from community (Kinnier 472). Many of the patients are being fired from jobs and thrown out of their apartments (Kinnier 472). The harshest consequence is being rejected and discriminated by family and friends. According to UNAIDS all these discriminations lead to the emotional problems like depression, low self-esteem, and despair (Cao 519).
Finally, discrimination against HIV-positive patients is morally wrong because once the patients are afraid to tell anyone about their disease, due to the fear of being discriminated, and they do not do anything about it, this whole situation crates the third consequence which is the uncontrolled spreading of HIV/AIDS. Today people realize that AIDS is a major problem, so many institutions and research facilities are concentrated on controlling the spreading of this disease and also on finding treatment.
Since many patients either “avoid seeking health care” or simply do not disclose this information due to the fear of discrimination when exposing their HIV status, it is much harder to control the disease (Cao 525). According to UNAIDS, “[s]tigma and discrimination have been identified internationally as major barriers to HIV control and prevention”, which clearly shows that, there is also an international concern about this problem 4 (Cao 518).
The UNAIDS world statistics show that 63 % of all 40 million world-wide infected people are living in the third-world countries, where people do not receive enough medical treatment and attention due to the discrimination (“Worldwide HIV and AIDS Statistics Summary” 1). This means that since HIV-positive people are hiding their HIV status because of the stigma, the result is the uncontrolled spread of disease, and it also puts many innocent people at risk of catching HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, some people believe that it is morally right to discriminate an HIV/AIDS person.
They are afraid of this person and try to avoid him/her because they do not want to get the disease from him/her. Some people believe that AIDS victims were a part of some group that practiced immoral acts like homosexuality and drug use (Fredriksson 1). Although people think that, many of them base their arguments on how they feel and their opinions, and not on real facts and credible information. Usually, it is based on misconceptions because society is not aware of the true information about the disease such as how it can be transferred and how it can be avoided.
AIDS/HIV is a major problem today because there is no cure for it and the disease keeps spreading. Discrimination of AIDS/HIV people by health care department and by society is a big issue nowadays. This discrimination is morally wrong because the consequences are great and unfair. These patients most of the times are denied medical care, and are not treated which leads to the further spreading of the disease. They are isolated and rejected by society and family. This also impacts their emotional state.
People should realize that having AIDS/HIV or any other disease does not make this person a bad person that should be discriminated against. 5 Works Cited Cao, Xiaobin, Sheena G. Sullivan, Jie Xu, and Zunyou Wu. “Understanding HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination in a “Blameless” Population. ” AIDS Education and Prevention 18 (2006): 518 – 528. PubMed.
National Institute of Health. 25 February 2007. Kinnier, Richard. “The Need for Psychosocial Research on AIDS and Counseling Interventions for AIDS Victims. ” Journal of Counseling and Development 64 (March 1986): 472 – 474.
Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Stern Lib. , UAB. 24 February 2007 Letamo, Gobopamang. “The Discriminatory Attitudes of Health Workers against People Living with HIV. ” Plos Medicine 2 (Aug 2005): 715 – 716. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Stern Lib. , UAB. 24 February 2007 Fredriksson, Jenni, and Annabel Kanabus ed. “HIV/AIDS Stigma and discrimination. ”
Averting HIV and AIDS. 6pp. 28 February 2007. Avert. 24 February 2007 “Worldwide HIV and Aids Statistics Summary. ” UNAIDS. 2pp. 23 January 2007. Avert. 02 March 2007.