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New to Working in the HIV/AIDS Field? Welcomes and Tips From Fellow Advocates

November 28, 2012


Hana Hawthorne, M.S.W.

Hana Hawthorne, M.S.W.

Aniz Inc., Atlanta

Working in the HIV field can be trying on the mind, body and soul. Being new to this field I have to constantly remind myself to be empathic and not sympathetic when speaking to my clients. Participating in training after training to learn more about the myths/misconceptions, all the medications, and latest statistics about new infections and growing populations after awhile can become overwhelming. To many this can lead to the straight-and-narrow path to job burnout. However, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by great employees and I learned quickly when to step back and rely on them in areas I fall short in. My recommendation would be to open yourself to new opportunities. In this field you will meet some great people and some will warm your heart. Remember it is the littlest things that will remind you why you entered into this field in the first place.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Marty (Jackson, MS) Tue., Jan. 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm UTC
I've been involved in HIV/AIDS/STI education and prevention for 20 years. You have to be a compassionate person and look past people's sexuality. I have been fortunate to work with very diverse groups and individuals in the HIV/AIDS arena and have learned one's sexuality does not measure who he/she is. Accept people for who they are.
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Comment by: Nova S (Pueblo Colorado) Mon., Dec. 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm UTC
Matt this is for you. You are doing good and right getting into the HIV/Aids field. I have been in it since 1982. You will get very attached to your patients and grieve when you lose them, you need to make your heart strong yet gentle for people with this disease. We can always make a difference even if in one persons life. There is always something new evolving with care and research. Hang in there.
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