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Ethics & AIDS in Africa: The Challenge to Our Thinking

Ethics & AIDS in Africa: The Challenge to Our Thinking

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The devastating AIDS pandemic in Africa poses daunting medical, social, and economic challenges, placing local, regional, national, and international communities at a moral crossroads. Not just a medical challenge, AIDS also highlights complex moral and cultural dilemmas. In this book, the first to systematically examine the ethical implications of the AIDS pandemic for Africa, examines such pressing questions as:

How do we deal with the uncertainties surrounding AIDS statistics? Is it really too costly to provide people highly active antiretroviral therapies in Africa? What is the relationship between AIDS and poverty? Is the political leadership in South Africa doing what is right and prudent to meet the challenge of AIDS? Is the developed world responding responsibly and justly to this crisis in the developing world? Is it moral for companies to make profits from AIDS drugs? Given the scope of the crisis, ought First World ethical standards for doing research on AIDS drugs and vaccines to apply unchanged to Africa? Ought we to include children in research for AIDS vaccines, and if so, how? Why do people persist in regarding AIDS as punishment for sin?

Internationally acclaimed experts in their fields, most of them Africans themselves, come together in this book to address these challenging questions that have tested South Africa's and Africa's leadership, and that of the Western world. They challenge also us. For in Central and Southern Africa AIDS is not someone else's problem: it is our own. Our response to AIDS - in our own lives and households and workplaces and communities and organisations - will help determine the calibre of society in the future.

A major topic in biomedical ethics, AIDS is discussed here in this context in a single volume that will serve as a valuable resource for public health workers, doctors, care givers and managers in the workplace, all of whom confront ethical problems in their handling of the disease. It is intended also as a textbook for students of medical ethics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and addresses some of the fault lines that emerge in finding a global solution to the pandemic, as well as the radical changes AIDS is likely to leave in its wake.