Monday, May 4, 2009

a week later and i'm still (fighting) mad

This is my final post about my cousin.

I've yet to hit the sadness stage of grief. I'm still stuck on the anger phase. As I mentioned to a friend, I think I'm going to be in this anger phase for quite some time.

I thought I could get over it but burying myself in work. All I've done is stress myself out.  This week, in particular, is going to be pretty crappy.

However, through all of this, I see my clients differently now. I don't feel more capable of helping them.  Now, I feel as though I can really understand them.

Don't get me wrong. I've always been sympathetic. But now it's as if I know their traumas. I know their motivations (or lack of). I know their frustrations.  And I know how a combination of all of these can result in tragedy.

The agency I work for is incredibly accepting. Latinos in the community know that they can walk through our front doors and not be judged by anyone inside. The gays and the straights have their support groups. Transgender Women know that this is a safe haven for them. We're all fighting the same fight. We don't have time to deal with stigma when people are getting infected every 9 and a half minutes. My workplace is a stigma-free zone.

I wish my cousin would've had the same resources that my clients do.

I see my cousin in some of my clients. The same stigma. The same fear. The many deterrents in seeking help.

I can't help my cousin any more. But I've still got a lot of other people to help.


Speaking of helping others, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (of L.A.) has recently re-introduced the Routine HIV Screening Coverage Act (H.R. 822 in the 110th Congress). This bill would require health insurance plans to cover routine HIV tests under the same terms and conditions as other routine health screenings.

Rapid HIV tests are usually free or provided at a very low cost by community health centers. However, to provide an HIV test during a regular check up that also provides screenings for hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol would NORMALIZE taking an HIV test for everyone. I'm all for including HIV tests as part of regular medical care. The goal here IS to get people to think of HIV tests as the usual fare during regular check-ups, to get them tested regularly without a second thought. Overall, it reduces the stigma of taking the test.

Plus, insurance companies would be footing the bill.  What's not to like about that?

So PLEASE contact your congressperson and urge them to support this legislation!

Don't know how? This website can help.

1 comment:

Generation Next said...

I just wrote to my congressman about this, using a lot of the language you did in your post. Thanks for posting!