AIDS and the Law: Setting and Evaluating Threshold Standards for Coercive Public Health Intervention
73 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2010
Date Written: 1988
This article examines in detail an example of legislation that redefines the scope of permissible public health intervention and provides procedural protections compatible with modern precedent – the Minnesota Health Threat Procedures Act. This Act is an appropriate subject for close study because it is intended to be responsive to the general concerns raised by the commentators: the narrowing redefinition of the scope of coercive public health intervention and the addition of suitable procedural protections. Coercive public health legislation merits close attention because it inevitably invokes a clash of three important values. The purpose of the legislation is the protection of the public's health. This end, when implemented through coercive means, conflicts necessarily with the liberty and autonomy of individuals. As a by-product, the legislation may produce injustice in the form of discrimination against and stigmatization of individuals who are infected with HIV or afflicted with AIDS.
Keywords: HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Public Health Law, Quarantine, Minnesota Quarantine, Last Resort Principle
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