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HIV Prevention Study Results Raise Public Health Questions About Forcing Patients Into Treatment

A New York Times “Week In Review” article examines how the results of a recent study showing combination antiretroviral therapy can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 96 percent “reopens old questions” about the rightsof patients to refuse therapy and whether doctors, in the interest of public health, should force patients to start treatment. The piece notes that “[s]everal AIDS clinicians interviewed for this article said the idea offorcing treatment onto a patient was repulsive to them” and describesseveral historical cases in which patients can be made to receive treatment for “legal circumstances” (McNeil, 5/21).