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Patients testing positive for HIV — ethical dilemmas in India

Sunil K. Pandya


Persons testing positive for infection by HIV or showing evidence of AIDS provoke revulsion and fear in medical doctors. These reactions stem from the general knowledge that the diagnosis of AIDS is akin to a death sentence and the belief that a positive HIV test is, inevitably, followed by the development of full blown AIDS. The fact that HIV is commonly contracted through sexual intercourse and anal penetration or addiction to drugs lends added reason for disgust. There is a close parallel between the behaviour of the doctor faced with a patient showing evidence of AIDS and that, till very recently, towards a patient with leprosy.

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