Sunday, October 30, 2005

Another infectious disease

Just spent a few days in a workshop looking at testing for HIV. Now, this infectious disease is one that many people in the area I am working in have, many more do not know they have, and almost everybody is scared of. There are many reasons for this - the culture of silence, the culture of prostitution, the lack of accessible treatment - which we could discuss all day whilst getting nowhere. The bits that we can do are already too big a task to waste time on what we can't do.

However, I would like to make a small protest about my own government's handling of the issue. What follows is completely unsubstantiated, but heard from those in a position to know.

Refugees get tested before being accepted. Given that mandatory testing has no public health benefit, and from my studies of the migration rules last year there is no official requirement for HIV testing (please correct me if you can), I would argue that testing those who are fleeing persecution is ethically dubious and merely cause for further discriminiation. However, if someone feels it must be done then I can at least see their point of view.

What I really object to is mandatorily (?) testing someone and then publishing their positive HIV status as the reason for rejecting their application. Someone who lives a enclosed community of several thousand people already has no privacy. I would have thought that a supposedly enlightened country could find a little more sensitivity. But, I guess our handling of refugee issues isn't exactly known for its sensivity or recognition of human rights.


Mick. said...

Not only do you find out that you're not going to get into Australia, but you're also not going to have a healthy life. It sounds like a very insensitive way of dealing with HIV.

Mick said...

Speaking of insensitivity, your mate with the gum disease site seems to have plenty of it. What a smarmy way to do your advertising!

melt said...

yes, i seemed to escape for an improbably long time.

it's not just the way the person in question finds out, it's the way several thousand other people they live in confined contact with find out too!