HIV/AIDS, Vienna and the Ethics of Public Health
July 19, 2010
Senior Associate, Global Health Policy Center, CSIS
I have just left the ceremonial opening session of the 18th International AIDS Conference, an every-two-year global event being held this year in Vienna, Austria.
My plan is to use some of the issues discussed (or not discussed) at this conference as an opportunity to think and write about a few of the complex ethical issues involved in societies’ efforts to prevent new HIV infections and to care for those people with AIDS for whom prevention has already failed.
From the titles of sessions scheduled for the next week, I can already tell that some things have not changed much since the last conference that I attended in 1998. For example, I can tell that the debate continues about the added value of idealistic but highly unlikely aspirational goals, e.g., “end AIDS” or “eradicate HIV,” vs. the more pragmatic and more likely public health goals of reducing HIV transmission and increasing coverage of care and treatment programs for people living with AIDS.
So watch this space over the next several for discussions of some difficult public health issues for which there may be no right answers.
[Phillip Nieburg is a pediatrician and public health physician who is currently a Senior Associate in the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS.]