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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2005 Apr;19(2):255-67. Epub 2004 Dec 13.

Ethical issues in HIV.

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Research Ethics Office, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, Private Bag 7, Congella 4013, South Africa.


The number of people with HIV/AIDS continues to increase globally. Women, who represent the subgroup with the fastest rate of increase, are usually informed of their serostatus by the obstetrician/gynaecologist. As treatment of infected women raises a number of ethical issues, an understanding of the theoretical background for ethical decision making is requisite to ensure these problems are resolved within a morally appropriate framework. Vigorous debate has arisen from the tensions between the competing goals of HIV testing, third party disclosure, management of the critically ill HIV-infected woman, infertility management in the background of HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence as cause or result of acquiring HIV infection. Women may be differently empowered economically, socially and culturally. What may be a satisfactory solution in the context of the USA and Europe may be far from ideal in that of the developing world.

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