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October 3, 1986

HIV Antibody Screening: An Ethical Framework for Evaluating Proposed Programs

Author Affiliations

From The Hastings Center, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

JAMA. 1986;256(13):1768-1774. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380130096035

THE ACQUIRED immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) poses a compelling ethical challenge to medicine, science, public health, the legal system, and our political democracy. This report focuses on one aspect of that challenge: the use of blood tests to identify individuals who have been infected with the retrovirus human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In this article we follow the terminology recently proposed by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses; that is, we use the term human immunodeficiency virus. This replaces the more cumbersome dual terminology of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus (HTLV-III/ LAV).

The issue is urgent the tests are already in use and plans to implement them much more broadly are being proposed.1 The issue is also complex: at stake is a potential conflict between the community's interests in stopping the spread of a devastating disease and in preserving important values of individual liberty and equal rights.