Long Island's patient safety advocacy and educational organization PULSE of NY yesterday marked World AIDS Day by announcing an informational brochure aimed at helping HIV-positive people and their families reduce the stigma that still surrounds the disease.
Wantagh, NY, December 2, 2015 (Newswire.com) - Long Island's patient safety advocacy and educational organization PULSE of NY yesterday marked World AIDS Day by announcing an informational brochure aimed at helping HIV-positive people and their families reduce the stigma that still surrounds the disease.
The publication, HIV/AIDS: Dispelling the Stigma to Improve Patient Outcomes, contains practical advice on maintaining privacy, along with language that can be used to counter common stereotypes about HIV and AIDS.
Though people are now living with HIV and not dying from the disease the way they used to, there is still stigma surrounding the infection. PULSE of NY, a community-based patient safety organization, interviewed people living with HIV to find out if there are concerns about patients' safety that they shared in common. The stigma surrounding HIV is an issue when people need medical attention: either they may not go for care, or may not be honest about the diagnosis or activities that might lead to the diagnosis of the disease.
Medical professionals, though aware of the need for privacy, may not be as discreet as they should be. Emergency department patients are separated by lightweight curtains; sometimes patients may be answering questions in the hallway. A clipboard with a patient's questionnaire is often left on a receptionist's desk, exposing personal information. Clinicians may speak to patients with the exam room door left open; often, the walls are thin.
The PULSE publication includes quotations from selected members of the HIV/AIDS group, such as, "I am a normal intelligent woman," or "Don't give me medical advice, I see doctors regularly," that can help those who know or meet people living with the virus understand how they feel when family, friends, advocates or even healthcare professionals treat them differently because of their HIV.
Getting rid of the stigma will encourage people to get the care they need. As one person quoted in the brochure says, "I am not dying. I am living with HIV and doing well".
To request a brochure, send a self-addressed stamped legal size envelope to PULSE of NY PO Box 353 Wantagh, NY 11793-0353 or visit http://www.patientsafetyadvisorycouncil.org/ to download a printable version.