Archived: WMA Statement on Issues Raised by the HIV Epidemic

Adopted by the 44th World Medical Assembly Marbella, Spain, September 1992
and rescinded at the WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, 2006

The World Medical Association, Inc. previously adopted strategies to cope with the HIV epidemic, including physician’s avoidance of discrimination toward HIV infected patients, provision of care to those infected, an HIV-infected physician’s responsibility to avoid infection to a patient, issuing no false certificates, compliance with infection control procedures, cooperation with public authorities in prevention programs, development of national policies and programs, counseling patients to avoid HIV infection or, if infected, to avoid infecting others, wide availability of HIV testing especially for those likely to be infected, mandatory testing in certain circumstances such as blood donations, reporting cases of AIDS and HIV infection, balancing the rights of the infected patient with the rights of the uninfected, confidentiality of patient medical information, and research to establish the prevalence and incidence of HIV.

The number of persons with HIV infection and those who have progressed to AIDS has grown steadily. By the year 2000 an estimated 40 million persons worldwide will be infected with HIV. The World Medical Association therefore expresses a continuing concern that National Medical Associations take an active role in policy and programs of prevention, treatment and research. The World Medical Association adds the following to its previous recommendations:

  1. That the National Medical Associations, in cooperation with all segments of society and government, develop and implement a comprehensive program of HIV prevention, treatment, and research.
  2. That the National Medical Associations work with all media and forms of communication to assure a coordinated program of prevention, treatment awareness, and public compassion toward the infected.
  3. That National Medical Associations advise physicians of their responsibility to inform their patients as thoroughly as possible of the consequences of testing positive. In so informing their patients, physicians should use tact and delicacy, and have due consideration for the patients psychological condition.
  4. That the National Medical Associations assist in the training and education of physicians in the current medical treatments available for all stages of HIV infection and in the use of proper infection control procedures and universal precautions as outlined by the centers for disease control.
  5. That the National Medical Associations insist on the need for biological, clinical and psychological medical education relating to HIV-infected patients, to help physicians give effective care to their patients.
  6. That the National Medical Associations encourage physicians to help their patients assess the risks of HIV infection and to take appropriate prevention measures.
  7. That the National Medical Associations review and encourage improved infection control procedures in hospitals and other medical facilities.
  8. That the National Medical Associations review and encourage improvement in HIV diagnosis and treatment for women and children.
  9. That the National Medical Associations encourage the use of those public health techniques which have been successful in the past in dealing with infection epidemics especially those of sexually transmissible diseases.
  10. That the link of drug abuse to HIV transmission is an additional ground for National Medical Associations to further encourage drug abuse treatment.
  11. That the National Medical Associations seek to join with other medical, professional and health organizations to develop worldwide strategies for cooperation in prevention, treatment and research on HIV especially those that may be carried out by professional societies.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus