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'Dangerous Direction on AIDS': Gann-Dannemeyer Initiative

August 06, 1988

Proposition 102 is a dangerous idea that if passed, will inhibit the battle against the spread of AIDS.

Confidentiality is essential because victims of the disease already exist on the brink of social intolerance. To subject these people to further trauma and stigmatization, would in turn, deter them from seeking treatment that advances medical research.

Perhaps the most menacing provision of the measure is to replace voluntary testing with mandatory testing. Proponents of mandatory testing criticize their opponents on the assumption that they are emphasizing privacy rights over that of public welfare. This is untrue.

AIDS has an incubation period of anywhere from five to eight years. Thus, testing is at best inconclusive and incomplete. Mandatory testing would give the public a false sense of security at the cost of inhibiting necessary behavioral changes to stop the disease's spread.

Furthermore, mandatory testing would create an atmosphere of fear and hostility. To fully understand this disease, testing must be accompanied by personal data of those affected. Therefore, conditions must be conducive to such cooperation.

The attempts by Rep. Dannemeyer and the like to politicize this disease are not only ignorant but inhumane.



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