Legal rights and duties in the AIDS epidemic

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Science  05 Feb 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4840, pp. 580-586
DOI: 10.1126/science.3340844


This article provides an overview of some major areas of legal concern in which the AIDS epidemic is having an impact. The rights of infected individuals to testing, treatment, and confidentiality are reviewed, and emphasis is given to their claims to nondiscrimination regarding access to health care, employment, housing, education, insurance, and related interests. Infected persons' duties to contain transmission of AIDS are outlined under principles of criminal and civil law, including liability for provision of contaminated blood products. Uninfected people's general rights to protection are considered, and health professionals' and authorities' rights and duties are given more detailed attention. In conclusion, some legal developments outside the United States are reviewed.