HIV/AIDS and Professional Freedom of Expression in Japan
Nursing Ethics 2002 July; 9(4): 432-438
A senior physician with a government role in Japan made a widely reported and misleading statement about Thailand's policy on HIV/AIDS patients. He claimed that in Thailand the policy is to spend public money on the prevention of HIV infection while allowing AIDS patients to die untreated. The author, a community nursing specialist in Japan with first-hand knowledge of HIV/AIDS policy in Thailand, thought that this statement would influence attitudes negatively in Japan. However, speaking out about this misrepresentation of the facts carried certain risks. Although freedom of expression is valued in Japan, in practice it is not easy to contradict senior medical professionals. The author uses his experience of this difficult professional situation to teach nurses how to approach speaking out in the public interest.
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