oa Mosenodi - Ethical considerations when conducting HIV / AIDS related research (a case of Botswana)

Volume 15, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN : 1021-559X



There is a tremendous amount of social and scientific pressure not only to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, but also to find the most effective ways and means of alleviating its associated problems, such as determining and controlling the social, economic, cultural, educational and other consequences of the pandemic. An attempt to contribute solutions to a problem like the HIV/AIDS pandemic through research often times constitutes a problem itself The process of carrying out related studies may impinge on the basic human rights of the infected and affected. The need to satisfy the tremendous yearning for solutions to HIV/AIDS and its related problems has turned many people, qualified and unqualified, into HIV/AIDS-related researchers. In most cases, research on human subjects raises ethical concerns such as informed consent, research designs, objectivity, confidentiality, provision of debriefing, and community involvement. Kvale (1996) identified three models of ethics:1) duty ethics of principle, 2) utilitarian ethics of consequences 3) virtue ethics of skills, while Mertens (2005) brings in an additional model of Transformative Axiological Assumption. I present an analysis of the Botswana health Research Guidelines and three national HIV/AIDS related research studies in the context of these four ethics models. My main argument is for the advancement of ethical standards that go beyond standard ethical practices to ethical protocols that are sensitive to gender, social class differences, ethnicity or race. These ethical protocols are contextual, situational, embedded in the cultural and value systems of the people and are informed by a dialogue that creates space for the production of other ways of knowing.

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