Positive Life NSW Blog

Ethics of HIV Treatments

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What are your experiences about making treatment decisions about your HIV or other health conditions? - asks Lance Feeney, Positive Life Policy Advisor.

For people living with HIV, there are many complex factors in play as we move through the ongoing decision making process to start, defer, or change treatment for HIV and other chronic and acute health conditions. Many of the factors are complex, compelling and competing - our need to maintain health and independence, the needs of our partners, family and friends and their expectation that we won’t allow ourselves to get sick or pass on HIV to others. Then there are feelings of potential failure and fear of the unknown. Framing all these factors is the advice and support we get from our doctors, the advice received from our partners and friends and the information we read on the internet and in the media.

Is it unsurprising then that some of us need to take some time to process all this complex information and reach, what we consider to be, an informed decision. The space to work through our treatment options and the range of competing influences that impact upon them is not always possible and we may feel pressure or coercion from a range of sources to making a decision, and to make it quickly.

Positive Life is keen to hear about what factors that either help or hinder you when making important decisions around your treatment and care. We want you to consider and tell us about the many factors that influence your treatment decisions, about how you feel during the treatment decision making process and whether you feel you are empowered and able to exercise self-determination and personal agency or whether you feel disempowered and pressured to agree to a treatment plan that you’re not entirely happy about.

Positive Life has been invited to be on a panel at the Australasian HIV & AIDS Conference with leading HIV specialists. We will be the sole community representative on the panel. It is important that your thoughts, feelings and experiences when making treatment decisions are represented both accurately and honestly.

To enable this to happen, we’ve developed a short survey. Results from the survey will inform a presentation and panel discussion and will provide your perspectives on the factors that help and hinder making informed decisions about starting, changing and stopping treatment, the importance of the relationship between you and your doctor and the factors that have the potential to coercively influence the treatment decision making process, one way or the other.

To participate in the survey, please visit http://bit.ly/TreatmentEthics. If you have any questions about the survey, please give me a call on (02) 9206 2177.

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Guest Saturday, 31 October 2020

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