Taking Away The Right Of Privacy Essay
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Taking Away The Right Of Privacy Essay, Research Paper Taking Away the Right of Privacy The global AIDS epidemic is having very strong social impacts on many societies. AIDS is being compared with the Bubonic Plague which swept Europe in a mad fury leaving only two thirds of the original population alive. People speculate that this disease is going to be the be all and end all of the human population as we know it. It has been sent to us to end our existence because of what we have done wrong, to the earth and to each other. These are the beliefs of many very frightened people who fear the demise of the human race from this devastating disease. There has been extensive research done on this topic so people know how it is transmitted and how to avoid contraction of it, yet sometimes, that is what scares them. Many people infected do not know they are infected, putting others in sexual contact with them at a high risk level. Also, many know they are infected and do not care what happens to the others around them. There have been many proposals of mandatory HIV screening and testing for these reasons. Some people want mandatory testing for HIV for all people in a certain age range. This seems like a good idea at first because it would lessen the risk of contracting HIV. People would know if they were infected, but there are some problems with this. If people knew they were infected, would they necessarily disclose this information to all people it should be told to? To combat this problem, some people think that this information should be available to people in contact with the infected person. This then would be a direct violation of privacy. So, is this violation of privacy permissible because it would protect the community? Is this a violation of the prima facie rights given to us as humans? In examining these questions, I will use two essays found in Contemporary Issues in Bioethics by Beauchamp and Walters. The first, used only for statistics, by Cochran and Mays is called “Sex, Lies, and HIV.” The second is the focus of this paper and it is called “Mandatory HIV Screening and Testing” by Childress. In the essay “Mandatory HIV Screening and Testing,” Childress argues why mandatory HIV testing is unjustifiable. It is a violation of respect for autonomy, rules of liberty, rules of privacy, and rules of confidentiality. The way he argues this is by stating what must be the conditions for overriding prima facie principles and rules. He states and explains these rules one by one an makes it extremely clear why the prima facie principles can not be violated on this issue. According to Childress, there are five conditions which must be met “to justify infringements of these [prima facie principles and] rules” (Childress 559). The first of these conditions is effectiveness. In this case, someone would have to show that violating these rules would benefit and protect the health of society. But, “a policy that infringes the moral rules but is ineffective simply has no justification; it is arbitrary and capricious” (Childress 559). The second of these conditions is proportionality. It involves the actual rules being violated and the consequences of this violation, yet it also includes the consequences that may occur in the future because of the violation of this rule. Next Childress describes that condition is necessity. If there is a better choice, or even a reasonable alternative, the choice or alternative should be taken. The fourth condition is that of least infringement. This is explained best by a quote from the essay. “When liberty is at stake, the society should seek the least restrictive alternative; when privacy is at stake, it should seek the least intrusive and invasive alternative; and when confidentiality is at stake, it should disclose only the amount and kind of information needed for effective action” (Childress 559).