I was recently interviewed for a piece in the Observer magazine; it was published last weekend. Read the piece here.
I think the journalist, Elle Tucker, did a cracking job of covering the realities of HIV in 2015 for a diverse range of people; whilst also paying respect and acknowledging the past and the struggles.
It was interesting to see Becky, a friend of mine via social media, acknowledge within the piece, the stigma encountered within the NHS.
This weekend I took part in the Beyond Positive PozPubCrawl and I got talking with a group of the guys there about stigma and where we had each encountered it. Within non-sexual health departments of the NHS was the resounding common ground. Sadly every single one of the group I was chatting with, had encountered stigma whilst receiving non-HIV related care. Now as I’ve written before I am so truly grateful for the NHS and the amazing care etc etc that I receive.
That being said, there are some basic common sense things which you would assume someone working within the NHS health system would understand. However we all know what assume actually means – ass, you, me yadda yadda…
Ok so these may be a little simplistic but the two things I wish I could make every NHS employee understand:
- There are many many blood borne infections – many people do not even know they have them. In a medical scenario, everyone should be treated as if they potentially have a blood borne infection; PLWHIV simply have the test to prove it for sure!
- PLWHIV may or may not want to tell you how they became positive – your morbid curiosity should NEVER bypass your professional conduct to ever ask that question. It really is none of your god damn business how/where/when etc etc.