II World Confernce on Bioethics (Gijón, Spain, 2002)
Considering that this Declaration has been formulated with a view to establishing a universal ethical base to protect and guarantee the basic dignity, rights and freedoms of people living with HIV-AIDS, increasing public awareness of the problems of discrimination and rejection, and highlighting the need for international co-operation so that all of humanity can benefit from the contribution of science and the application of justice.
Conscious of the fact that improper use of science and law can threaten the dignity of the human being at times, justified by irrational fears, prejudices, assaults, abuse and violation of rights, and that apart from the political or merely human actions, AIDS is just another illness, and should therefore be accepted as such by all societies, regardless of gender, race, nationality, sex, religion, origin, ideology, sexual preference, behaviour or social condition.
WE ASSERT THAT:
- Any action aimed at denying people living with HIV-AIDS employment, insurance, residence and social-health and legal aid is considered discriminatory and should be punished.
- Sufferers or carriers of the virus cannot be excluded, limited, impeded or denied participation in school, collective, labour, military, social, or any other kind of activities due to their condition.
- The carrying out of examinations for the detection of antibodies of the HIV virus will not be permitted without the knowledge of the person, and without their informed consent, always guaranteeing the necessary psychological, medical and social assistance in the decision-making process.
- No health-related intervention on the person will be carried out without prior informed and free consent, principle of autonomy, with anonymity, respect for intimacy and strict compliance with confidentiality being established in the control and/or detection examinations.
- No law of exception shall be applied to people living with HIV, not even when deprived of their liberty, reiterating that as far law and science are concerned, AIDS is just another illness.
- The codes of ethics of the professionals are based on the principle of confidentiality of the same among themselves and with the people with HIV/AIDS. Non-compliance with this deontological obligation with respect to third parties, and in particular employers and governors will lead to prosecution.
- Any reference made by second parties to the HIV carrier's or AIDS sufferer's condition without their consent, will be punished.
- Information regarding HIV will be dealt with in the media in an objective manner, with clear and precise language, thus contributing to the construction of a more just society with greater solidarity, avoiding the usual tendencies of bias, the sensationalist and morbid manner in which it has unfortunately been broadcast to the population during the years of the evolution of the pandemic.
- Freedom of movement, residence and acquiring of documents due to diverse situations will not be affected by the persons condition as carrier of HIV/AIDS.
- The main aim of government policy and plans for economic development in rich countries should be to make the necessary resources and means available to the poorer countries so that they do not lose any more years of development of health, welfare and right to life.
- We demand the rejection of the character of guilt with which infection has been treated, and continues to be treated, by some civil, religious and governmental societies, discriminating the person living with HIV-AIDS and his/her environment, halting and/or bearing witness to the setting up of prevention, damage reduction and health education programmes as the only mechanisms available to date for stopping this pandemic.
- Scientific research, technology and the development of the pharmaceutical industry should be set to work for humanity.
- A dignified life implies a dignified death, and advance will is a right of capable people with HIV/AIDS, being able to leave provisions for a final ending, if they find themselves in a situation of terminal illness.
- It is necessary to promote transverse education both formal and non formal that allows the rapprochement and development of knowledge, skills and attitudes from the solidarity and tolerance towards HIV/AIDS.
- The lack of awareness of pressure groups and others who do not hesitate to sacrifice their aim to economic opportunism and/or social status instead of changing the alarming situation of HIV in the world, should be criticised.
- The implementation of specific establishments with the subsequent creation of ghettos should be prosecuted.
- The concept of self-care and co-responsibility should be defended as opposed to charity.
- The interest and welfare of the human being must prevail as opposed to the exclusive interest of society or science, as is established in the Asturias Bio-ethics Convention.
- Basically, universal behaviour should be aimed at normalisation, equality of opportunities, rights and freedoms, with a view to guaranteeing the dignity of the human being.