Many AIDS-related issues are polarised. At the social level, civil rights or liberties are seen as being in conflict with general utility, and an analogous distinction is often assumed to exist at the one-to-one, individual level at which doctors work. In this paper the latter form of the distinction is argued to be false. By seeing autonomy as part of welfare, doctors can think more directly about such issues as paternalism, confidentiality, and consent. A number of these issues are discussed in the light of the revised conception of welfare, in the form of simplified case studies.
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