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Importance of Empathy in HIV Treatment


Segment description: Timothy Ray Brown, formerly known as the “Berlin Patient” explains why it is important for providers to form relationships with patients and avoid stigma and judgment.

Interview transcript: (modified slightly for readability)

Nurses, doctors, and providers are very important to people living with HIV. It's very important that, that they do not show any stigma and that they are sex-positive and basically show no judgment toward the patient, no matter what.

It's also very important that they establish a very close relationship with their patients. At this point, many, many providers only schedule like 20 minutes for the patient and that's not enough, and so it's very important to extend that time. I think the reason why they do that is financial, that unless they have a certain number of patients each day, they can't really survive.

This country has a very poor medical system and it needs to change, no matter how it's done. I believe Obamacare was a very, very important step in the right direction, but I'm not sure that it's enough. In Germany, I was able to get everything for all medical care for free to my insurance, my insurance paid for my HIV drugs, my antiretrovirals, and then when I got leukemia, they paid for all my hospital care. In the United States, it would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not over a million. And as a I was working at the time—I'm not no longer working—but there's no way I could have been able to afford that at all.
This is part 3 of our interview. Read part 1 and part 2.
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