Indiana: Purdue University Professor Turns HIV/AIDS Diagnosis Into Her Life's Work
October 6, 2011
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis sociology professor Carrie Foote is dedicated to eradicating stigmas regarding HIV/AIDS. Realizing most of her IUPUI students believe they have never known anyone with the disease, Foote announces on the first day of class, "I have HIV/AIDS."
"I let them know that they clearly know someone now, and it isn't who they think," said Foote. A former teenage intravenous drug user who lived on the streets, Foote was diagnosed with HIV in 1988 upon entering a Colorado drug rehab program.
Foote focused on kicking her drug habit and turned her life around: She earned her GED, graduated from Denver's Metropolitan State College, and obtained a PhD in medical sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Although medical sociology studies connections between societal issues and well-being, Foote generally kept quiet about her HIV status.
In 1998, Foote's condition progressed to AIDS, and she realized that telling her story, which includes marriage and, more recently, an adopted son, could inspire others. "I feel very strongly who you are matters when you are doing this kind of research," said Foote.
Syracuse University sociology chair Andrew London said Foote's research helped physicians realize just how far HIV/AIDS patients may go to pursue alternative treatments. In 2010, Foote was appointed to the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council, advising the national director of the office, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, and other government officials on AIDS research.
Foote has also inspired many IUPUI students toward degrees in medical sociology and careers battling HIV/AIDS.
09.22.2011; Shari Rudavsky
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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