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Voices in the Band

A Doctor, Her Patients, and How the Outlook on AIDS Care Changed from Doomed to Hopeful
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"I am an AIDS doctor. When I began that work in 1992, we knew what caused AIDS, how it spread, and how to avoid getting it, but we didn't know how to treat it or how to prevent our patients' seemingly inevitable progression toward death. The stigma that surrounded AIDS patients from the very beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s continued to be harsh and isolating. People looked askance at me: What was it like to work in that kind of environment with those kinds of people? My patients are 'those kinds of people.' They are an array and a combination of brave, depraved, strong, entitled, admirable, self-centered, amazing, strange, funny, daring, gifted, exasperating, wonderful, and sad. And more. At my clinic most of the patients are indigent and few have had an education beyond high school, if that. Many are gay men and many of the patients use or have used drugs. They all have HIV, and in the early days far too many of them died. Every day they brought us the stories of their lives. We listened to them and we took care of them as best we could."-from the Introduction
Author's NoteIntroduction1. 1992: Beginning2. 1992: So Much to Learn3. 1992: No Easy Answers and Little to Offer4. 1994: Too Many Drugs, No Medication5. 1994: Being Mindful of the Subtext6. 1994: Weekend on Call7. 1994: Christmas8. 1995: Another Support Group9. 1995: Mothers and Children10. 1995: Decisions and Revisions11. 1995: Colleagues and Families12. 1995: So Many Stories and Some New Faces13. 1996: Some Hope in the Despair14. 1996: Hit Early, Hit Hard15. 1997: Amazing Changes16. 1999: Despite Our Best Intentions17. 1999: Coping with a Different Paradigm18. 2000: Going HomeEpilogue

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