I Work In A HIV Clinic & Here’s My Story

hiv-awareness

In honor of December 1st being World AIDs day, I wanted to share my experience working in a clinic that specializes in HIV Care & Treatment. Due to HIPPA, I can’t discuss specific patient situations. But I will try my best to paint a picture of my experience of what I’ve learned so far working as a receptionist. This article is for entertainment purposes. Don’t use this for medical advice or to reflect the opinion of my current employer, UW Health. If you are seeking treatment for HIV/AIDS, please consult a medical professional.

What is HIV? 

According to the CDC, HIV is a virus that attacks a person’s immune system. Once contracted, this can start with flu-like symptoms. If not properly treated, HIV can lead to AIDS. Once you develop AIDs, it damages your immune system and it cannot protect you against diseases. Thanks to the many resources and treatments available, most people who contract HIV don’t find themselves receiving an AIDS diagnosis. 

Who can HIV/AIDS affect? 

There’s a stigma that HIV only affects gay and bisexual men that dates back to 30 years ago. Although there’s no statistic that states how many gay and bisexual men currently are diagnosed with HIV, in 2020, men-to-men sexual intercourse accounted for 71% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States. This further validates that there is not a one-size-fits-all situation when it comes to contracting HIV/AIDS. People of all different backgrounds can find their way to eventually needing treatment. 

However, it’s best not to ignore the struggles that LGBTQ individuals face that lead them to HIV diagnosis. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the risk of HIV can severely impact individuals who identify as LGBTQ.  Many states can legally discriminate against LGBTQ people for job offers, housing, and other public accommodations. This leaves LGBTQ people in tough situations such as job loss and homelessness, which makes them a higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.

Our doctors and nurses help the patient receive the best care possible for HIV/AIDs treatment. Each patient’s treatment plan differs depending on the severity of their symptoms. We have asymptomatic patients and we have patients with severe symptoms. Once diagnosed with HIV, it doesn’t go away. So it’s crucial for these patients to follow up on their appointments and treatment plans so they live a long and healthy life.

Our clinic sees a variety of HIV patients with different life circumstances like homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health issues. These situations can make managing their care much harder. Thankfully, we have a team of social workers and behavioral specialists to help patients navigate through these issues. 

One resource that has helped many of our patients is the Ryan White Foundation. This organization helps low-income individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS with medical services, medications, and essential support services to help them stay in care.

It’s amazing to see how many resources are available but there was a point where we didn’t have them. 

One of my favorite true-crime YouTubers Bailey Sarian did a podcast on the Dark History of the AIDS Epidemic. I’d highly recommend viewing to gain more knowledge behind the history of AIDs and how many people lost their lives waiting for someone to step in to change theirs. 

One of my favorite things about my job is being able to see patients come back into the clinic looking much healthier than their last visit. This wouldn’t be possible without the many medical innovations and research studies that happened over the course of the last 30 years.  I’m grateful to be working at a place that makes sure life isn’t taken for granted.

One of my favorite things about my job is being able to see patients come back into the clinic looking much healthier than their last visit. This wouldn’t be possible without the many medical innovations and research studies that happened over the course of the last 30 years.  I’m grateful to be working at a place that makes sure life isn’t taken for granted.

Feature Image by Anna Shvets from Pexels

3 COMMENTS

    • Thank you! She’s awesome! I love her Dark History videos, they are always so detailed, and I learn something new in them,

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.