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Author Topic:   Quarantines and Public Identification of Infected Individuals
molbiogirl
Member (Idle past 746 days)
Posts: 1909
From: MO
Joined: 06-06-2007


Message 1 of 8 (439679)
12-09-2007 7:14 PM


Recently, it was reported that Mike Huckabee advocated the quarantine of HIV+ individuals.

"I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk," Huckabee wrote in the (1992) questionnaire for The Associated Press, which reported the answer on Saturday.

"In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified," Huckabee wrote, according to the AP.

"An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."

"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.... It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7270.html

In response to my post on this matter, Silent H had the following to say:

I'm not going to defend Huckabee's idiocy regarding the nature of HIV, or how research into it should be funded. However, he is correct that this is the only (or at most one of the few) communicable diseases that has been treated as a civil right, rather than as a disease.

The fear of what bigots would do with the information, has superceded the reality that at the very least IDENTIFYING carriers is the most important thing we should be doing.

I think quarantine at its outset might have been plausible, but it isn't anymore. At least not in a strict sense of quarantine. Identification and tracking (general, not realtime monitoring) of carriers of that virus is vital to containment of the disease, not to mention actually helping the people afflicted.

But of course not identifying the carriers, allows moralists (religious or otherwise) to blame sex and drug use as the cause, and prohibit their free use.

I responded:

Really.

Please provide:

1. Information re: the state "publicly branding" carriers of a communicable disease (within last 50 years in the United States).

Note: A single example (Andrew Speaker and MDR-TB) is not sufficient.

2. Information re: the state identifying and tracking carriers of a communicable disease (within last 50 years in the United States).

Note: Epidemiological tracking is not sufficient. That is at the community level. I mean at the individual level.

3. A definition of "civil rights" and how this relates to medical privacy.

I will start a new thread where you can post your answer.

I would like to discuss:

• Whether public identification and tracking of individuals with a communicable disease has happened recently in the U.S.

• The pros and cons of any such proposed identification/quarantine.

Given the substantial privacy issues raised by the collection, transmission, and retention of such information, I contend that any such program violates an individual's right to medical privacy.

Furthermore, I contend that collection of individual data and tracking of individuals is wholly unnecessary.

Epidemiological tracking is currently done at the community level and has proven effective in managing outbreaks here in the U.S.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Hyroglyphx, posted 12-10-2007 3:33 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded
 Message 5 by jar, posted 12-10-2007 4:52 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded
 Message 8 by Silent H, posted 12-10-2007 11:41 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded

  
AdminNem
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 8 (439815)
12-10-2007 3:21 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 3 of 8 (439819)
12-10-2007 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by molbiogirl
12-09-2007 7:14 PM


Epidemics and individual rights
quote:
"If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.... It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

Yup. You read right. Quarantine.

Heh... While it may not be politically correct, and surely this excerpt will be used as ammunition against his campaign, he does have a point whether or not it makes for an uncomfortable thought.

The AIDS virus has in many ways been treated like a civil rights issue in many instances, as if it were a little, red badge of courage. It also would be the first time in history where people with a disease with no known cure was not quarantined.

Plus you have to consider the timeline -- 1992 -- when AIDS was considered an epidemic. Every one was fearful that it could be transmitted as an airborne pathogen, or if it didn't, a mutation would make it happen down the line.

Obviously more research has been done since then and awareness has been raised. The disease has been mitigated considerably thanks to those aspects.

Whether public identification and tracking of individuals with a communicable disease has happened recently in the U.S.

Yes... Remember when about 8-9 months ago a man with a rare form of tuberculosis (could have been another disease though) was ordered not to leave the United States, but did anyway?

They broadcast it all over the news, giving his name, and what city he lived.

The pros and cons of any such proposed identification/quarantine.

The pro's is that the disease will be contained, the con is that you will be a social pariah.

Given the substantial privacy issues raised by the collection, transmission, and retention of such information, I contend that any such program violates an individual's right to medical privacy.

Only unless the general public is at serious risk, otherwise, there is no need to stigmatize someone.


“This life’s dim windows of the soul, distorts the heavens from pole to pole, and goads you to believe a lie, when you see with and not through the eye.” -William Blake
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by molbiogirl, posted 12-09-2007 7:14 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 12-10-2007 4:21 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

    
AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 4 of 8 (439836)
12-10-2007 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Hyroglyphx
12-10-2007 3:33 PM


Re: Epidemics and individual rights
There are a couple of interesting ironies with Huck's position: It was a conservative republican congress that passes the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in 2003, the privacy sections of which would probably make the steps advocated by the Huckster illegal; It was an ultraconservative republican governor of California, Ronald Reagan, who closed the state mental institutions releasing thousands of patients with various forms of schizophrenia upon the public. There was not then (1992) nor is there now a "cure" for this mental disease that , while not contagious, can be a threat to the general public (hear about any church shootings lately?).

As far as examples of contagious and potentially deadly diseases that are not systematically detected, tracked, and contained, it is only within the last two years that a preventative (a vaccine) for HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) has been approved for public use. Before that, this infection was the leading cause of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women and often fatal. There were absolutely no public laws requiring sexually active people, especially males, who are the most common transmitters of this virus to female sufferers, to be tested, or to "take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague".

I am hesitant to post the previous sentence since Juggs assures us that (referring to AIDS):

It also would be the first time in history where people with a disease with no known cure was not quarantined.
and I know that Juggs is very careful to never make any assertion without first thoroughly researching it.

On the other hand, this is a 15 year old response to a questionnaire and I believe that there should be some sort of statute of limitations concerning stupid statements and acts for people running for public office. The real question is "what is Huck's current position on this issue?".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Hyroglyphx, posted 12-10-2007 3:33 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by jar, posted 12-10-2007 4:54 PM AnswersInGenitals has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 5 of 8 (439851)
12-10-2007 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by molbiogirl
12-09-2007 7:14 PM


Is genital herpes curable?

Do they quarantine those who have herpes?

Trichomoniasis?

Chlamydia?

Gonorrhea?

and on and on.


Immigration has been a problem Since 1607!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by molbiogirl, posted 12-09-2007 7:14 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 6 of 8 (439852)
12-10-2007 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by AnswersInGenitals
12-10-2007 4:21 PM


Re: Epidemics and individual rights
The real question is "what is Huck's current position on this issue?".

Pretty much the same as it was 15 years ago.


Immigration has been a problem Since 1607!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 12-10-2007 4:21 PM AnswersInGenitals has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 12-10-2007 5:10 PM jar has not yet responded

  
AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 7 of 8 (439856)
12-10-2007 5:10 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by jar
12-10-2007 4:54 PM


Re: Epidemics and individual rights
Yes, I see that his position has been consistent on this issue. I understand that during a recent outbreak of syphilis in Arkansas, Huckabee tried to quarantine all public toilet seats.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by jar, posted 12-10-2007 4:54 PM jar has not yet responded

  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 3924 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 8 of 8 (439955)
12-10-2007 11:41 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by molbiogirl
12-09-2007 7:14 PM


Oh, sorry I missed this being opened here. I thought it was going to be in the Coffee House.

Whether public identification and tracking of individuals with a communicable disease has happened recently in the U.S.

I'm not sure. That's not what I said so I'm not exactly inclined to do leg work on that.

The pros and cons of any such proposed identification/quarantine.

Okay, but again that wasn't my position (outside of initial quarantine possibilities, which I said was no longer feasible).

At an outset of a deadly contagious disease, it is extremely useful to quarantine subjects to prevent the spread of further contagion. I think the numbers at this point prevent such devices, unless we make it "home quarantining", similar to what we do for lice or chicken pox, though of course at this point we also know casual contact or proximity is not the danger.

About the only reason for a "quarantine" of sorts now, would be for those who knowingly continue to infect others, or for a centralized healthcare and research facility focused on the disease.

No one has to be publicly "outed" for that, except those infecting others.

Given the substantial privacy issues raised by the collection, transmission, and retention of such information, I contend that any such program violates an individual's right to medical privacy. Furthermore, I contend that collection of individual data and tracking of individuals is wholly unnecessary.

What substantial privacy issues? This goes to the very point I was making. That is a civil rights bogeyman which has cast a very real shadow over useful medical science.

There is a virus which is extremely deadly to humans. Thankfully it is at this point only transmitted by fluid contact. However given its "hidden" symptoms, people are capable of transmitting the virus for a long time before they are made aware of their infection, and once they do know, can still remain active sexually without raising suspicion of their partners... or others who come into contact with their fluids.

(As a nod to Jar's point) This is not just a venereal disease, and that's yet another layer of politicking... sexualizing something that isn't a sexual issue. It is a virus and as it continues to enjoy a "free" life, it will change and could become much more deadly, and communicable.

Epidemiology, if "defanged" to the point of generalized numbers, cannot stop the spread. It will always be working a backward and defensive angle. Let's all wear rubbers and pray that it will end soon, would be just as good.

Once a person is identified as infected, the trail of the virus should be kept secure. Where did it come from, and where has it gone from that point? What's more, those infected are helped by earlier recognition of their infection status.

Along these lines I believe it is important to be implementing proactive policies to get people tested. Indeed some orgs like the WHO counter proactive policies due to "civil rights" concerns. It is not a person's fault if they are infected, and it is not a crime. But infection is deadly and its continued spread should not be treated as something to hope will stop. It must be found. Those that are identified, will now be able to get the help they desperately need, and will be able to curb activities which may spread it further.

What harm would come from proactive testing procedures, and solidly maintained records of those who are infected? They do not have to be public lists. But they could be used by doctors so that individuals are not "lost" and in some specific cases (where people are knowingly spreading the disease) by authorities.

Epidemiological tracking is currently done at the community level and has proven effective in managing outbreaks here in the U.S.

I haven't argued that records could not be kept at the community level. Though they could be transferred as needed.

I would love to see your proof that epidemiology has been useful in managing outbreaks of anything, without those who are infected being identified... and some "isolation" procedures enacted based on the type of infection vector.

Right now our lack of adequate identification procedures leaves HIV infection incidents and rates to be guesswork on the part of medicine. Given that we have adequate tests, that is a ridiculous situation.

Its like back in the times of the black death, having been able to detect where animals and fleas infected with the disease, and then saying well we'll test around where people want to be tested, and then throw away the actual data when we find it.

I do want to know why you don't want to discuss people with TB? What about those with bird flu? How about ebola?


h
"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." - Robert E. Howard
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by molbiogirl, posted 12-09-2007 7:14 PM molbiogirl has not yet responded

    
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