HIV disease is a continuum of progressive damage to the immune system from the time of infection to the manifestation of severe immunologic damage by opportunistic infections, neoplasm wasting, or low CD4 lymphocyte count, that define AIDS (Osmond 1998). The course of HIV and AIDS is particularly aggressive in children. Without HIV treatment and care, HIV multiplies and destroys the child’s defense to infection, leaving the child less able to resist pneumonia and other common childhood infections. However, a lack of necessary investment and resources including adequate testing, antiretroviral drugs and prevention programmes as well as stigma and discrimination mean children will continue to suffer the consequences of the epidemic (AVERT 2010). Only in high income countries HIV infection has virtually been eliminated given access to comprehensive Preventive Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) interventions. Every day about 1,000 children under the age of 15 become infected with HIV, and in 2007, UNAIDS estimated there were 2 million children living with HIV. The vast majority of these children either acquire HIV before they are born, during pregnancy or during delivery or when they are being breastfed (if their mother is HIV-positive) and about 50 per cent of children who acquire HIV from their mothers die before their second birthday. This must have alarmed the healthcare industry and the society.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Should HIV-AIDS married women be tolerated to conceive?
Coerced sterilization of HIV positive women
To identify whether HIV-AIDS married women be tolerated to conceive.
a. To present the pros
b. To present the cons
Philippines is a democratic country where every Filipino has the right to protect his human Rights, To protect human rights is to ensure that people receive some degree of decent, humane treatment (Maiese,2003). To violate the most basic human rights, on the other hand, is to deny individuals their fundamental moral entitlements. It is, in a sense, to treat them as if they are less than human and undeserving of respect and dignity issue. As seen in the population section of this web site, tackling many population related causes involves tackling many women’s issues such as increased knowledge and access to better health care, family planning and education for women. The beneficial results of these get passed along to the children and eventually the society. In fact, as PANOS shows in a report, providing women reproductive rights is part of their human rights. Even the international organization for women seconded this matter that providing women reproductive rights is part of their human rights (Women Reproductive Right, 2006). The law protects every individual within the country premises to be an advocate for himself like the right to conceive and thus not be coerced any act against his will. In addition, living in the centre of Christianity in Asia where morality, dignity, and the right to procreate are precedence, the law of church states that. Respect for that dignity is owed to every human being because each one carries in an indelible way his own dignity and value. The origin of human life has its authentic context in marriage and in the family, where it is generated through an act which expresses the reciprocal love between a man and a woman. Procreation which is truly responsible vis-à-vis the child to be born “must be the fruit of marriage”.
We also suggest that sterilization is not only an option for the HIV positive women. Here are some acceptable procedures for conception: Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Timed, unprotected intercourse has not been shown to be safe and is not advised. To limit the risk of mother to child HIV transmission, anti-retroviral drugs may be administered to an HIV positive woman during the second and third trimesters of her pregnancy and to her baby during its first six weeks of life. In addition, planned cesearian section also reduces the risks. Couples should be advised too, that the absolute safest courses to consider are adoption or donor sperm.
William Keye, Jr., MD commented, "As care givers, we're responsible for ensuring the health and safety of our patients. With the development of new techniques and treatment protocols, we're able now to help HIV positive patients have children while minimizing the risks they face. I encourage clinics to develop the expertise needed to bring the hope of parenthood to these patients." (Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2002)
The percentages of women among HIV-positive adults aged 15-49 years range from 18% in East Asia to 57% in sub-Saharan Africa; in the latter region, young women aged 15-24 years are at least three times more likely to be HIV-positive than their male peers (Bruyn 2006). Chances of getting pregnant in the duration of HIV infection can happen if the woman has not yet undergone sterilization or has not considered nor applied any contraceptive method. It is as if the woman has condemned her child to death before being brought to life. In Namibia, healthcare providers recommend that HIV positive women should not have children after being infected. They believe that it is just to encourage sterilization to positive women who has a background of caesarian sections or miscarriages, status as single or widowed, unemployed, already has children, poor health, and/or complications with ARVs (ICW 2009). This is to protect the woman with her frail condition from complications during pregnancy, and the child inside her for future misfortunes. In Africa, where the most number of HIV positives are living, they have a surging of HIV and non HIV positive children who are orphans. These children witness their parents and other family members slowly die due to the disease. They see their loved ones suffer and perish. Both HIV and non HIV positive children also are forced to take care of their dying family member. Young children who are increasing in number, are strained to feed themselves and their family as well. A significant number of families who are inflicted with the virus are headed by a child these days.(childinfo 2009). In addition, there is still no law enacted to support abortion care to women living with HIV (IPAS 2008).
After weighing the pros and cons of the issue, the group has concluded that women diagnosed with HIV should not be tolerated to undergo pregnancy due to its detrimental effects to the female body and its foreseen damage to the possible offspring. HIV positive women don’t have the right to bear a child knowing that they are not capable of rearing in a way that children deserve. HIV positive women don’t have the right to conceive and risk transmission of the disease to the child. She doesn’t have the right to let this child suffer the complications of the disease, and the disturbing side effects of antiretroviral medications. HIV positive women don’t have the right to bear children just to have someone to take care of them in the moment that they can no longer take care of themselves. She doesn’t have the right to deprive a child from being a child. It is a violation to the child’s right, and an unforgivable act of irresponsibility. Therefore, the group agrees that coercive sterilization is an appropriate method to prevent pregnancy and its consequences.