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Care for the Infected

It's hard enough living every day when you're infected with HIV, let alone facing the realities of the discrimination against you. The stigma attached to HIV causes more damage than the virus alone. Understanding the truth about HIV helps reduce the fear associated with it and helps reduce this global epidemic.

Discrimination and Reducing Stigma
There are many ways to limit the HIV virus' effects on the body, but the effects of discrimination can be just as damaging. The stigma shared against HIV victims leads to shame, depression, withdrawal and even isolation.

The impact of the infection is multiplied because many times it's hard to find care and support. The fear of discrimination prevents people from seeking treatment and even sharing their HIV status openly. This stigma also affects children. Those who are struggling to cope with the death of parents from AIDS can also carry the burden of discrimination.

Increased Access to Medicine
One of the most important aspects of erasing the global AIDS epidemic is through providing more access to medicine. Key partnerships with pharmaceutical companies are helping to provide cheaper medicine and increased distribution to countries in need.

Palliative Care
In several sub-Saharan countries, HIV care is mostly palliative care. Comfort and quality-of-life issues can be addressed even in places where antiretroviral cocktails are not available.

Hospices often function as the only care providers in countries where primary health care is failing from lack of resources. Hospice nurses, social workers and volunteers give education on transmission and prevention, erasing myths and fears.

Again, education on HIV has tremendous positive effects. It helps prevent new cases and allows patients to be cared for at home. When the fear of HIV is replaced by education about the virus, families no longer reject those who are most in need of care. And, most importantly, once these same families are educated, they are more willing to assume roles of rearing the children who have been orphaned by AIDS.
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