The West's Moral Obligation to Assist Developing Nations in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
Nelson, Samuel H.
Health Care Analysis: An International Journal of Health Care Philosophy and Policy 2002; 10(1): 87-108
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is increasingly a disease of the disadvantaged, a destroyer of nations, and a threat to global security and well-being. But this need not be so: the world has the scientific knowledge, technological innovations, and financial resources to significantly reduce the spread and suffering caused by the disease. This paper argues that the wealthy nations of the world, led by the United States, have a moral obligation to offer much greater assistance to developing countries where the epidemic is most severe. Using Zimbabwe as a case study, this essay examines the immediate and underlying factors behind the epidemic in order to make realistic and affordable policy recommendations that include new investments in global health care, debt relief, and long-term economic development. By demonstrating our ability to dramatically affect the future course and consequences of this unprecedented epidemic, the paper concludes that greater action is not only in the interest of public health, but is also a moral imperative. By investing the necessary resources to improve public health and to reduce global poverty, we promote and extend the fundamental rights and values that we profess to hold dear.
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