The ‘stigma’ associated with AIDS is not only the patients suffering from it, but also the doctors and other medical staff who treat them are starting to get caught up in it.
‘Mom you know my friend’s brother is getting married and he has invited all his friends except me.’ This was said by the daughter of a senior doctor treating pregnant women fighting HIV and AIDS at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad’s largest government hospital. Dr. Madiha (pseudonym) was not surprised to hear such a thing from her daughter’s mouth, but she was certainly saddened.
Dr Madiha herself has faced such discriminatory behavior many times. But this time their grief is different because because of them now their daughter is also having to suffer the same.
The risk is too high
Speaking to DW, Dr. Madiha said that working with patients with any infectious disease is very dangerous and requires great care, “In the treatment of pregnant women with AIDS, this disease is very dangerous. The risk of transmission increases because we also have to operate on them, with the possibility of cuts and needle sticking during stitches.”
Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has established the largest center for the treatment of AIDS patients, where about 20 to 25 pregnant women benefit from treatment and maternity facilities every year. When talking to various doctors and nurses in this center, it was found that these people face discrimination somewhere in their lives just because they work in the AIDS ward.
Dr Madiha said that educated people show more discriminating attitude, maybe they know about the disease but to some extent their knowledge is incomplete. They may not know that the disease is not spread by treating or touching people and that the doctor knows all the precautions. He further said that he has reduced his contact with like-minded people around him.
According to Dr Madiha, “My daughter’s friend’s brother had a wedding and her mother refused to invite her just because I work in the AIDS ward. My daughter was sad for a long time and asked me to change my ward, but I explained to her that I should leave the good thing I am doing because I am afraid of people’s attitudes. Such AIDS-affected women are already oppressed by society and need our love and support. After that, my daughter gave up her stubbornness, but it is difficult to say how much she understood.
The family prays
Hina (pseudonym), a nurse working in the same ward, told DW that whenever she had to go to assist in the operation of a woman with AIDS, her mother would arrange a special stipend to protect her. And on returning, they check his hands and arms to see if there are any cuts or wounds.
Narrating her two-year experience, she said that she does not feel any fear while working with these women, but most of the nurses in the hospital, even if they come to this ward for some work, sit there and spend time. “They probably think that even sitting on a chair will give them AIDS.”
When Hanna was asked for permission to reveal her identity, she explained the reason for the refusal, saying that people who do not know that she works with AIDS patients will also know and that she is in her difficulties. I don’t want an increase. Dr. Anbar said that there is a stigma associated with this disease which sometimes affects the doctor as well as the patient.
When asked about the discrimination of the society, he said, “Thankfully, I have full support from my family, but they always warn me to be careful.” But I have seen that many doctors and medical staff in our field need training and awareness because I have experienced discrimination in my own field. “These people think that we are probably not good enough doctors, so we are put in the AIDS ward.”
He said that there is no doubt that the risk of transmission of this disease increases greatly in the operation theater, so he and the rest of the medical staff take special care of safety measures and in an operation twice as much as in a normal operation. Take time.
According to Dr. Anbar, “once during the operation, the needle was stuck on my finger while stitching the patient, a wave of fear engulfed my whole body, but then I had the courage to complete the operation and the protective Completed a 28 day course of medication. If we work with good intentions, then Allah also protects us and He kept me safe even though I was pierced by a needle.
He said that about one to one and a half months ago, a nurse’s place became vacant in his ward, so another nurse was recruited, but she could only work for two weeks and left the job, because of which people The attitude and fear of this disease was told.
Mentioning an incident, Dr. Anbar said that there is a stigma associated with AIDS patients, so they do not seek treatment in their own areas, but go to nearby cities so that people do not know about their disease. can be He said that an AIDS-affected pregnant woman from Gujarat came to him and she started crying during the medical examination. But he did not even sit down and wrote the medicine on a slip without examining him while standing up.
There are not few people who shy away from having any kind of relationship with AIDS patients, but if the society treats people who treat this disease, it is possible that patients in AIDS wards will be discriminated against. Yes, but doctors and other medical staff may not appear there.