HIV: look how far we've come
I cannot express how privileged and thrilled I am at being part of this first edition of the National HIV Nursing Journal Supplement in British Journal of Nursing. As the current chair of the National HIV Nursing Association, I speak on behalf of the organisation when I say how excited we are at this launch and what it means for HIV nursing.
In 1993, I had my first personal experience of caring for someone with end-stage HIV. I had started my nurse training with the sole purpose of looking after people with HIV, a disease that predominantly affected stigmatised groups in society. I had joined a small HIV organisation called ‘Begin’ and was an HIV buddy while studying to be a nurse. I was on placement on a traditional medical Nightingale ward. At the end of the ward was one single room with big glass windows. In this room lay a beautiful young man who was emaciated and very weak. His eyes were full of fear and there was a sign on his door that read ‘Highly Infectious’. During handover, I'd learnt that he had end-stage HIV. I noticed that very rarely did anyone venture into his room and when they did, they wore gowns and gloves.
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