(3) Anger. AIDS brings out a great deal of anger. First, there is anger
about having the disease itself. "Why me?" Then, anger about many things come out.
If friends abandon the person, anger at the abandonment. Often, a person feels anger
at the government and society for not having found a cure and/or treatment for the
disease. Included are angers at health care people for not doing more to help and
angers at the tremendous cost for medications that do not cure. Eventually, these and
other angers turn inward, and the person feels depressed.
(4) Helplessness. Finally, many feel helpless. Helpless and hopeless seem
to go hand in hand. Many individuals just give up.
On a positive note, as the AIDS epidemic continues to grow, support systems
and positive information also is growing. There are now support groups in
several states. Information is available in books, audio tapes, and video
c. Potential for Suicide Ideation. Patients who are terminally ill with AIDS may
consider suicide. The pain of associated illnesses, the prospect of repeated hospital
stays with no cure, and the sense of being a burden to others are all factors that
contribute to the idea of suicide as a way out.
d. Fears Concerning Development of AIDS and Subsequent Death. It is
natural and normal to worry about how the disease will progress. Will it be painful? Will
the person lose his independence? Since the disease is usually fatal and death is full of
unknowns, it is also normal to worry about death. The individual patient will eventually
come to terms with these concerns himself. In the military, the patient is usually
referred to AIDS counselors when initially diagnosed. These counselors work with the
patient, referring him to psychologists, ministers, etc. as needed.
3-13. PRECAUTIONS FOR HEALTH CARE WORKERS
Traditionally, health care workers have taken precautions such as hand washing
when working with individuals with an infectious disease. With the discovery that health
care workers may come in contact with supposedly healthy persons who are carriers of
HIV, it now becomes necessary for these workers to take precautions routinely:
a. Wash your hands before and after contact with each patient. Also, wash your
hands after exposure to body fluids or laboratory specimens.
b. Wear disposable gloves whenever you have direct contact with potentially
infected substances, body tissues, or environmental surfaces.
c. Employees with weeping or exudative skin lesions on the hands or other
exposed areas should be excused from direct patient care activities until the condition is