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Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 2011 Vol.12 No.7 P.591-610


Dilemma of concepts and strategies for the prevention of spread of HIV in relation to human behavior, law and human rights

Author(s):  Reinhard H. Dennin, Michael Lafrenz, Arndt Sinn, Lan-juan Li

Affiliation(s):  Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Luebeck, Campus Luebeck, 160 Ratzeburger Allee, Luebeck D-23538, Germany, AIDS Medical Board, Medical Association, Rostock, MV 18055, Germany, Centre for European and International Criminal Law Studies (ZEIS), University of Osnabrück, Osnabrueck 49076, Germany, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Disease, the First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, China

Corresponding email(s):   reinhard.dennin@uk-sh.de

Key Words:  HIV, Prevention, Human rights, Fundamental rights, Jurisdiction, Decriminalization

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Reinhard H. Dennin, Michael Lafrenz, Arndt Sinn, Lan-juan Li. Dilemma of concepts and strategies for the prevention of spread of HIV in relation to human behavior, law and human rights[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B, 2011, 12(7): 591-610.

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DOI - 10.1631/jzus.B1000434

The new prevalence data regarding the estimated global number of human immunodeficiency virus positive (HIV+) cases, i.e., including people who are either aware or unaware of their HIV infection in 2010, lead many to wonder why the increase in incidence has reached today’s unprecedented level and escalated within such a short time. This, in spite of prevention campaigns in countries affected by HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) with their urgent messages aimed at preventing HIV transmission by promoting changes in individual’s behavior. This article analyzes the background of the prevention strategies, in particular their political, social and legal concepts in terms of human rights, and reveals traits of human behavior not considered thus far. A radical reappraisal is necessary, at social and legislative levels, as well as options additional to current concepts. When ethical issues come up, they become blamed for outmoded moralistic positions. However, ignoring the reality has led to dire consequences from prioritizing individual human rights over society’s collective need to prevent the spread of HIV.

Darkslateblue:Affiliate; Royal Blue:Author; Turquoise:Article


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Open peer comments: Debate/Discuss/Question/Opinion


Ruth Dixon-Mueller@consultant<dixonmueller@yahoo.com>

2011-07-20 00:24:46

This is an excellent article comprehensive and well argued. On the ethical obligations of HIV+ persons to inform their partners see Ruth Dixon-Mueller "The sexual ethics of HIV testing and the rights and responsibilities of partners" Studies in Family Planning 2007;38(4:284-296 and a short version Ruth Dixon-Mueller and Adrienne Germain "HIV testing: the mutual rights and responsibilities of partners" The Lancet Dec. 1 2007;370:1808-1809. These papers argue that the right to confidentiality or privacy of HIV+ persons should not trump the needs and rights of their partners to know of the risks and to protect their own health.

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