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Dr Alvig has misread our article. But his letter demonstrates how anxiety about AIDS can foster illusions that coercive public health measures can halt the spread of HIV infection.At the outset of our article, we acknowledged the gravity of the public health crisis posed by AIDS, a crisis underscored by the recently released Institute of Medicine report, Confronting AIDS. In the face of such a crisis, we offered an analysis of how HIV antibody screening could be used ethically. We argued that it must be part of an overall strategy of encouraging millions of men and women to alter their sexual and drug-using behavior, as well as their childbearing plans, to avoid infecting themselves and others. We also argued for wide-scale voluntary use of the test and concluded that there are limited ways in which nonvoluntary screening might be appropriate.Our analysis examined the ways in which
Bayer R, Levine C, Wolf SM. Mandatory Screening for HIV Antibody-Reply. JAMA. 1987;257(5):625–626. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390050051010
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