Ending the stigma

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THIS YEAR, I was privileged to work with patients at an HIV clinic in Philadelphia. The clinic's surrounding neighborhood is affected by high rates of drug use and prostitution, so HIV-positive patients are, unfortunately, appearing in growing numbers. The stigma that surrounds this disease is created by a lack of understanding and information by patients' family, friends, and even healthcare providers. I've seen people express fears of touching HIV-positive patients, patients afraid to tell their families about their diagnosis, and even nurses tiptoeing around the fact that a patient is HIV-positive.
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