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By Nicholas Dorn

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Extra resources for AIDS: Women, Drugs and Social Care: Women, Drugs & Social Care (Social Aspects of Aids Series, Vol 1)

Example text

The second area urgently needing recognition is that of childcare. It was acknowledged that neither inadequate childcare nor housing facilities were unique to either drug users or people with HIV, however there were areas where better provision could alleviate some of the unnecessary stress put on people with the virus and/or becoming ill and on those who care for them. In Edinburgh it is common for grandparents to have custody of children where one or both parents are using drugs. Several participants in the discussion had contact with such guardians who had expressed feelings of isolation and a lack of 38 PERSPECTIVES ON HIV FROM EDINBURGH supportive contact with parents or other guardians in similar situations.

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. Local practitioners working with a large number of people with HIV/AIDS have predicted a heterosexual ‘epidemic’ of HIV infection and have announced that in Edinburgh 1 in 100 males between the ages of 15 and 44 are currently infected. This has obviously led to increased public and media concern. How has this concern been reflected in the funding of new services?

Due to the ‘stigma’ which is attached to drug use, HIV and even more so to AIDS, carers frequently encountered attitudes that ‘it’s about containment, rather than a general healthcare issue in which you take certain precautions’. One teacher asked What do we have to do to protect ourselves from these children in our school that might have AIDS? Drug users are still often seen to be ‘self-destructive and therefore deserving this fate, as are gay men who are often seen as evil or morally wrong’. It was pointed out that This is a group [drug users] that can be easily targeted by public hostility because of their addictions, as though they brought it on themselves…[there is an] attitude of it being self-inflicted so…let them die.

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