AIDS: Women, Drugs and Social Care: Women, Drugs & Social by Nicholas Dorn

By Nicholas Dorn

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Two factors which sometimes place extra stress on carers were discussed at length. First, one’s level of emotional involvement could threaten the ability to remain professionally detached. Nurses in the main ‘aren’t meant to get emotionally involved’, yet as one respondent stated, My experience…with young people dying of cancers…it’s really very difficult to keep seeing them coming back into hospital again and again, and a bit weaker than they were the last time and maybe taking longer to get out.

Of these, 919 (52 per cent), had been identified as injecting drug users and of this number, 563 cases were identified in Edinburgh; 68 per cent were males. 3 per cent (n=32), since 1989. (Answer, 14 April, 1990). By February 1990, thirty-seven AIDS 40 PERSPECTIVES ON HIV FROM EDINBURGH cases among injecting drug users were recorded, nine of whom had died (an increase of over 100 per cent on 1989 figures). Some of the original participants met in February, 1990 to discuss changes in policy, practice and provision that had taken place since the original meetings in 1989.

In addition, women with HIV may experience feelings of depression and guilt at not being able to cope with their varied roles (mother, partner, carer). Terminally ill women with children (or other dependents) have to face their death with many more pressing worries than perhaps those without dependents. There were many cases discussed where mothers were beginning to develop symptoms, but had not yet managed to discuss their probable death with their children. Carers found their silence exceptionally difficult with which to deal.

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