The first official case of AIDS in Britain was recorded in 1983 but nurses said they were caring for unofficial cases before [Ferlie and Pettigrew 1990:195]. Similar to America early reports were confined to the homosexual population. When looking at initial attitudes to the disease if we look at the statement provided by Day and Klein the confused nature of the debate comes to light." The AIDS epidemic is defined as a case study of the Government forced to cope with uncertainty, moral ambiguity and knowledge that there are no solutions, only ways of limiting damage." [Day and Klein 1989:337]. To return to the initial question, social welfare concerns the social services response in relation to the benefits given to groups of society affected by the epidemic. Watney states "it important to consider the full significance of the Governments continuing failure to support community based health education and care among the social groups most severely affected by HIV disease since 1981". [Watney 1991:4].
[...] Britain has relatively low rates of infection, compared to other European countries, the USA and obviously Africa where the problem is certainly an epidemic (Hatfield and Walker 1998:9). Similarly, the establishment of an informal network of centers of excellence available in healthcare with examples of excellent social and community care since the late 1990's provided by Local Education authorities and community and voluntary groups (Hatfield and Walker 1998:9), was commended. Also progress has been made by people living with HIV/AIDS tackling discrimination and developing self help and peer support that have been more recent movements since the 1995 Disabled Discrimination Act. [...]
[...] The discussion will respond to ideas that direct social welfare is inadequate; also whether other types of response were adequate such as indirect social welfare and investigating political and social implications on why certain action was not appropriate. As stated in the introduction, the first documented case of AIDS in Britain occurred in 1983. At this point there wasn't very much known about the disease, nor was it to be known what the extent was going to be. "The initial phase of the disease in early 1980's is characterized as one of official neglect. [...]
[...] However, the address of direct social welfare of the groups who the disease was centered on occurred minimally in 1986 with the Whitelaw Committee with an emphasis mainly on indirect prevention leaving interpretations that it is a homosexual problem and sufferers are guilty, leaving care of those sufferers to a self help ideology and leaving them more stigmatized in society. Additional social welfare directly was not considered until the late 1990's where it then looked at specific HIV/AIDS groups addressing care and anti-discrimination a lot better. [...]
[...] All of these shall be analyzed individually with reference to direct and indirect social welfare, as well as other benefits from the policy. The budget announced to cover large costs in the NHS for financing AIDS patients is certainly a direct social welfare response but not a revolutionary one. Even if limited, it reinstalls the belief that the Government holds that the care is available and is adequate and only needs to be budgeted due to the large costs. Doing more than this in terms of direct social welfare, such as more support groups probably would not have been seen as justified at this time too much of society and too many ministers, as the disease was still largely regarded as the fault of homosexuals. [...]
[...] These groups in society who were sufferers of HIV/AIDS did have a stigma attached to them, which made social welfare policy so difficult to justify, as they were seen as bringing the disease upon themselves but this again cannot be used as an excuse. The social welfare response to the keeping alive of HIV/AIDS victims was also said to be problematic. Medical Research Council microbiologist saw that treatment research raises the moral dilemma, since one would run the risk of prolonging the lives of people who would be infectious in the community (Watney May 1989 cited in Watney 1991:169). [...]
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