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Medical policies on viral infections
Mar 2, 2001

Hi. I'm a high school student and I'm working on a virus research project. I've been looking throughout the internet for info concerning the question: is it ethical to allow civil rights groups to make medical decisions concerning patients with viral infections? Or should the medical practice of isolating the patient to isolate the virus be used. I've look in search engines but do not know what key words to use. I haven't found any information useful to me. Please help.Where should I go? Do you have any information pertaining to my question. Please help me! I appreciate it.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Wow! This is quite a hot topic. Although much has been written about the ethics of quarantining HIV patients, I'm not sure I have a reference for you. Obviously in the US, we (this is a collective we) have decided that in the case of HIV, there is NO reason to quarantine HIV-infected patients. We do on occasion forcefully "lock-up" TB patients under the "public menace" law; such a lock-up is done infrequently and only as long as it takes for the patients to become non-infectious. In terms of HIV, the only country I'm aware of that forcefully quarantined HIV-infected patients was Cuba (I do not know if they still do so at this point in time). You may want to search under Cuba and HIV. Sounds like an interesting project. Hope this helps. (PS: The Boston Globe (website:, my home town paper ran a recent article about the TB "lock-ups")

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