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A word of thanks
Aug 16, 2004

Hi Dr Young My interest to write to you has been triggered by your article titled "its time HIV doctors stop waiting for the situation to improve and make their voices heard." <i>[Editor's Note: <a href="http://www.thebody.com/iapac/may04_suppl/action.html">Click here</a> to read a transcript of the speech.]</i> I was deeply moved by your contribution as I had a conversation with my friends with concerns about what contributions do our doctors(SA) have on this pandemic. In South Africa you often hear AIDS activists who do not have any medical background trying so hard to be heard by our government in support of ARVs. You are inclined to believe that there is little our doctors know or that their profession is money driven and care less about the well being of their patients although that would be a very rich statement to utter. I hope this artcle reach the medical community and thereby impacts on their thinking to make a valuable contribution in the developing countries. The people who seem to benefit are the learned and haves, what about our illiterate people who do not have the opportunity to access medication. They die before the opportunistic infections hit them as their sorroundings believe and treat them as dead people, dig their graves even before their days could come to the end. Most of the people in our society still believe that an HIV diagnosis equals death. Often you see isolated HIV sufferers as the community cannot identify with them due to the stigma. I believe that our doctors could assist to remove the stigma in the HIV diagnosis and provide hope to the hopeless affected and infected individuals out there. You are lucky if you hear about ARVs saving peoples lives in South Africa instead louder voices preach about AIDS deaths and more infections.I believe that if hope could be provided and the stigma removed we might have less infections compared to now, as people would disclose their status and encourage others to volunteer testing.

South African.

Response from Dr. Young

Dear friend in South Africa- Thanks for your kind and lengthy note. I hope that the situation improves for all in the near future. The stakes are too high. Borrowing from the International Assn of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC), "silence = complacency".

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