The purpose of this paper is to discuss human rights and the AIDS policy of the Cuban government. The first chapter of the study provides context to the discussion through a brief, introductory review of the biophysical nature of the disease, prevalence rates, and its physical, financial, social and psychoemotional consequences.
The second chapter presents a delineation of Cuban policy regarding AIDS and its relation to Cuba's general health care system while the third chapter evaluates the policy within the context of human rights and human rights violations. A summary of the reviewed material and points made is provided in the final chapter of the paper.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease characterized by the failure of the immune system to protect the body from diverse and life-threatening illnesses. The first cases of AIDS were observed in 1981 when researchers identified the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as having penetrated lymphocytes, macrophages, and cells of the nervous systems of a small sample of gay men, resulting in the development of rare cancers.
The HIV virus is a retrovirus whose own genetic code is integrated with that of the host cell in such a way that when the host cell subdivides, the virus is itself reproduced. While the system develops antibodies to fight the invading virus, Francis and Chin (1987) have noted that:
...one of the most remarkable aspects of HIV is its propensity for producing a persistent viremic ('carrier') state in a high proportion of infected people despite the presence of antibody. (Francis & Chin, 1987, p.1359)
In other words, the antibodies do not serve the protective function that they are normally designed to fulfill. Today, it is possible to detect these antibodies and so identify those persons who have been infected by the virus.
While the progression of the HIV infection is not yet well understood, Francis and Chin note that it h...