Women's Study Seeks Answers
Attention Women with HIV and AIDS! We now have a great opportunity to help ourselves and other women infected with HIV. The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS: pronounced "wise") began in October. It's a great way for women to have our health monitored for free. A team of doctors and nurses who are experts in the HIV/AIDS field will follow our health for four years. The principle investigator for the study is, Alexandra Levine, MD in Los Angeles.
The doctors and staff helped me to feel very comfortable and relaxed; from the initial contact with the study coordinator/case worker, to my lab tests and throughout the whole physical exam. They treated me with respect and compassion. I did not experience the feelings of vulnerability and fear that I thought I would. I had a true sense that the clinicians respected me as a real person and not just a subject for them to exam and study. Many doctors seem to forget that we are real people with real lives!
The staff was just as excited as I was to be a part of this study. They kept thanking me for sharing myself with them and for helping them to learn more about women and HIV.
This study is such a great tool for the AIDS community to get detailed data on precisely how HIV/AIDS affects women directly. What a legacy to leave behind for our family and friends! We will know for the rest of our lives, and they will always remember that we, women with HIV/AIDS, contributed, in a very real and meaningful way, to the future knowledge and understanding of HIV infection in women.
What a rush I felt as I left the clinic that day in November. As I drove home along the beach, I felt a sense of tranquility fill me up inside. I had new hope for myself and other women with HIV. I know this study will bring a new level of awareness and involvement for women. If women are to survive this disease they call HIV-slash-AIDS, then we can't count on others to find the answers for us. We must jump in with enthusiasm to help educate ourselves, along with the HIV/AIDS experts to create a team effort.
To learn how you can join the Women's Interagency HIV Study, Call: In Santa Barbara, Maureen 805-681-5467 In Los Angeles, Mary 310-641-7795.
This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.