• Robert Spicer

HIV/AIDS: the Cuban experience: individual human rights versus public health

HIV/AIDS in Cuba

Another extreme example of the contradiction between collective and individual human rights is the reported action of the Cuban government in response to the anticipated HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Cuban approach was the compulsory testing and quarantining of persons with HIV symptoms. The result of this has been that Cuba now experiences a very low incidence of HIV/AIDS, particularly in comparison with other developing countries. It can be argued that the collective rights of the majority have been safeguarded by breaches of individual human rights of the few. In England, those subject to compulsory quarantine would no doubt have been represented by batteries of QCs earning thousands of pounds a day, probably financed by the taxpayer. Meanwhile, HIV/AIDS marches on.

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