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Shattered Dreams?An Oral History of the South African AIDS Epidemic$
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Gerald M. Oppenheimer and Ronald Bayer

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195307306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307306.001.0001

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The Burdens of AIDS: Treatment and Its Discontents

The Burdens of AIDS: Treatment and Its Discontents

(p.79) 3 The Burdens of AIDS: Treatment and Its Discontents
Shattered Dreams?

Gerald M. Oppenheimer

Ronald Bayer

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the early burdens carried by those dedicated to treating people with AIDS. To care for their patients, these doctors and nurses often needed to create their own clinics and begin a regimen of therapeutic trial and error. To protect their patients against inevitable stigma and discrimination, they developed protocols to ensure privacy and confidentiality. However committed the clinicians, the context in which they practiced was strained by cultural and class barriers: a linguistic divide (most doctors did not speak African languages) and the tension between Western-trained physicians and traditional healers. Perhaps the greatest burden for nurses and doctors was coping with the stream of suffering and dying patients and their inevitable deaths.

Keywords:   HIV/ADS, stigma, discrimination, patient confidentiality, doctor-patient communication, traditional healers, sacerdotal medicine, death, South Africa

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