Mandatory AIDS Testing

Satisfactory Essays
Mandatory AIDS Testing

AIDS has become a worldwide epidemic that has struck every identifiable group.

However, persons who are considered to be in a high-risk group of contracting

HIV, the disease believed to cause AIDS, are still stigmatized by the media and

other professionals as being diseased and abnormal. It is quite surprising

still that this type of stereotype still exists now in our gender-bending

society. No longer do only gays, prostitutes, bisexual men, intravenous drug

users contract HIV, the heterosexual community is also facing the epidemic at

phenomenon increases. It is estimated that heterosexual transmission accounts

for 75% of all AIDS cases in the world.(Video, CBC In Review) And still

individuals persist that AIDS is a gay disease and that if one is not gay, one

is immune from it. No one is immune to from AIDS. Until a vaccine and cure is

discovered for AIDS, the numbers will increase and people will keep dying.

Therefore it is of vital importance to educate people about AIDS and to promote

safer sex. The key word now is prevention. Among many proposed policies to

help prevent AIDS infection, one of the most controversial is mandatory AIDS

testing. Mandatory AIDS testing is theoretically very effective, however, when

it is applied, it is not practical at all because one is dealing with human

nature, the odd nature of the virus itself, and also all of the stigmas that are

attached to AIDS. Therefore, not only will mandatory AIDS testing not prevent

HIV infection, it will indirectly increase HIV infection because of the adverse

effect it will have on voluntary testers. One of the major flaws of mandatory

AIDS testing is that "it provides people with a false sense of security."(Greig,

p68) When one goes for AIDS testing or more accurately an HIV antibody test

which is also know as the ELISA test (Kolodny, p42), one tests for the presence

of HIV antibodies not for the virus itself. Our bodies manufacture antibodies

to fight against foreign infections, therefore the presence of HIV antibodies

indicates that the person is infected with HIV and is considered a carrier and

may infect others. However, if the person is infected recently enough, these

antibodies might not show up in the test because it can take the body as long as

six months to develop these antibodies. This period of time is known as the

window period. So a person whose test returns with a negative HIV status may be

in fact a carrier and not know it because the antibodies have not shown up yet.

Misguided, this individual believing to be HIV negative, may participate in high