Online Program

Using a human rights framework to identify the opportunities and shortcomings of the affordable care act to ameliorate health disparities among persons with HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharya, JD, MPH, LLM, Department of Public Health Sciences, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL
A key theme of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the reduction of health disparities. For persons with HIV/AIDS, however, the threat of discrimination and even imprisonment have become tools to combat its transmission. The enactment of legislation worldwide criminalizing non-disclosure of HIV status, alongside a spate of judicial rulings at the state and federal levels, present a formidable challenge to alleviate the disease burden among affected populations, deter screening among at-risk individuals. My objective was to utilize a rights-based approach, drawing from international instruments and comments, to identify the features of the ACA that promote health among persons with HIV/AIDS, and identify the gaps against a backdrop of legislative developments and judicial rulings in the U.S. and abroad. This research conducted a comprehensive review of recent court rulings, laws, and epidemiological studies to address the legal, ethical, and epidemiological issues that are implicated by federal, state, and international efforts to reduce health disparities among persons affected with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and abroad. Finding that existing laws do not adequately address the practical challenges of litigating cases of HIV disclosure, reinforce unethical treatment of persons afflicted with HIV/AIDS, and impede contemporary and innovative interventions (based on epidemiological evidence) to contain and control the spread of disease, this presentation recommends repealing existing HIV criminalization laws, conducting surveillance of HIV as it is embedded within the broader context of STIs, and targeting the couple (rather than the individual) as part of a broader public health campaign.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the normative basis for using international law to reduce health disparities. Identify the shortcomings of well-intentioned laws (e.g., ACA) that inadequately address the care and treatment of persons afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Recognize the strength of adopting a multidisciplinary approach, rooted in a rights-based approach, by examining how drawing from the legal, ethical, and epidemiological considerations may yield a more robust and effective prevention strategy, consistent with the broader goals of the ACA and similar legislation domestically and abroad.

Keyword(s): Health Law, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently write on these issues and have long been a scholar in these areas.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.