Public health is one the most important conditions of social security. However, rapidly spread epidemic causes panic and immorality in social interaction. Therefore, public awareness about virus and national campaign has various legal and social peculiarities. HIV appeared long-standing problem for authorities and puzzle for scientists. Despite the fact, that HIV researches are important part of modern medicine, in the end of 20th century, scientists, who worked in this sphere, faced various difficulties.
At first, mild diseases that caused death among patients disoriented doctors. However, detailed analysis revealed virus, which suppressed immune system. Further examination demonstrated interdependence between homosexuality and immune deficiency. Therefore, homosexuals were perceived as potential holders of the virus and local saunas endangered homosexuals’ life. Scientists tied to shut down saunas in order to stop epidemic. However, sexual minorities fought for the equity during debates between doctors and gay community.
Homosexuals argued against doctor’s initiative. They felt suppressed and, therefore, gay community tried to fight for their rights. In addition, people who own saunas supported disapproval of gay representatives. However, the desire of people not to be prejudged for their sexual orientation distorted their perception. In addition, representatives of sexual minority claimed that they prefer to die like human beings rather than to live like outcasts (And the Band Played On Movie).
The movie shows different ways, in which people become acknowledged about the disease, expressing emotions, decisions and social position of infected individuals, their psychological peculiarities. On the one hand, people, who were infected by their sexual partners tried to support each other, feeling desperation. In fact, the AIDS research campaign was funded by its own patients. On the other hand, customers of the blood bank, who were infected during the blood transfusion, initiated spreading of the HIV awareness (And the Band Played On Movie).
The blood banks supported donors’ desire to donate blood anonymously. Therefore, local government faced another ethical issue, which reflected uniqueness of this case. Examination of donors’ blood was the only chance to reveal regularities of virus spreading. However, local authorities refused to cooperate with scientists, explaining ethical duality of this issue.
Constitutional rights of sexual minorities appeared suppressed in the sphere of blood donation. The were not allowed to be donors, as they were identified as the group with high-risk. Searching for methods to stop virus-spreading, scientists suggested preventing homosexuals’ participation in donation process. Nevertheless, this decision was declined as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court supports equity between homosexuals and heterosexuals (Goodman, 257).
Therefore, principle of selectivenesswas substituted by signing declaration, in which donors answered questions about their sexual orientation, tattoos and diseases. The blood screening appeared too expansive in the end of 20th century. However, in future, fixing mistakes, Government will fund HIV researches with much bigger sum (And the Band Played On)
The idea represented in movie reflects standards of Supreme Court (Gostin, 6), which primarily disapprove subordination between the interest of minority and interest of a few, showing the attitude of authorities. Government refused to interrupt into the system of blood banks in order to protect several people or save few lives (And the Band Played on).
Moreover, according to the legislature of Massachusetts (Gostin, 9), one of the main principles of Constitution protects individual’s free will. Therefore, prohibiting homosexuals to participate in blood donation, authorities could affect their rights.
However, in the process of virus spreading, in the end of 20th century, society became acknowledged enough. Therefore, government had to spread information about epidemic. Public Health policy tends to control the progress of spreading viruses. According to the Constitutional norms, the prevention of epidemic is based on the principles of full equity of citizens in the access to the information about infection, regardless of sex, age, social and cultural identity, political position and religion (Gostin, 3).
Involvement in the effective cooperation of a wide range of government agencies, educational, scientific and academic institutions, public and political associations, non-governmental, charity and religious organizations, private companies and individuals, including individuals affected by the virus provides epidemic control.
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Despite the fact, that Public Health Law contains instructions, formed on the example of smallpox epidemics (Gostin, 3) that regulate authorities’ actions during pandemic, in the end of 20th century, political authorities did not perceive epidemic seriously, because doctors could not prove their theory.
However, bureaucrats knew that scientists need funds to investigate new virus. Therefore, bureaucratic difficulties, public indifference and other problems represented in movie did not support crucial researches.
The concept of inhumanity is represented from different points of view (And The Band Played On Movie). First, the photographer raised this issue talking about his past, saying, “when I was human being”, because his life was ruined when he caught different diseases that damaged his face.
The second case of using concept of inhumanity is reflected in opposition human being and outcast, symbolically expressed during the debates about homosexuals (And The Band Played On Movie).
The issue of inhumanity was raised again when the blood bank refused too test blood or spread awareness about HIV. Moreover, authorities, who were responsible for the blood transfusion procedures, decided not to test blood or donors because majority of theories could not be supported by scientific data. However, there were other reasons for authorities to avoid public acknowledgement on this issue: blood testing appeared too expensive.
Unfortunately, protecting donors’ security, authorities put people with hemophilia at risk and thousands of recipients, including children and newborn babies, appeared infected by the disease with absolute mortality.
Another serious problem that disturbed scientists, who examined the virus, was greediness of bureaucrats and co-workers. On the one hand, businesspersons that held sauna industry refused to cooperate with doctors, explaining their decision as the profitable perspective. On the other hand, local authorities, bureaucratic system and Government prevented proper funding of scientific investigation. Moreover, even their colleagues, doctors, acted as businesspersons, fighting for the authorship and profitability.
People are afraid of things and phenomena, which they do not understand. Therefore, the lack of information about AIDS led to panic. The movie shows irrationality and fear that influenced social consciousness: people with HIV appeared suppressed by society. Infected people had no chance to get a job or to get a medical service. Society felt unprotected, vulnerable and, therefore, ethical questions faded into insignificance.
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Everybody was equal in the face of the virus. The movie shows how HIV epidemic spread and how society misperceived information about the disease. Moreover, lack of information led to the panic and misperception of conditions in which individual were infected. Therefore, Public Health policy did not favor spreading information about the amount of infected people. Moreover, official cause of death has often been substituted by alternative information.
To sum up, it is important to mention that it was hard to control epidemic of AIDS, newly formed virus with absolute mortality. Government did not support scientists in their aim and proper funding was not provided. However, interrelation between homosexuals and HIV was based of physiological predisposition.
Therefore, debates between sexual minorities and doctors were misperceived. Doctors had to admit that HIV is a sexually transmitted disease that afflicts mainly homosexuals. This conclusion was perceived as the invasion of human rights. Measures assumed in favor of the Public Health cannot be in conflict with main principles, represented in Constitution.
Nevertheless, protecting rights of donors and minorities, government put people who get blood transfusion at risk. However, when truth about epidemic was revealed for society, disinformation caused panic and misperception of infected individuals. However, everybody appeared equal in the face of epidemic.