HIV: OPTIONS FOR MEDICAL CARE-HOSPITAL CARE: AIDS UNITS

Many hospitals, both community hospitals and teaching hospitals, have established specialized units, informally called AIDS units or wards, for people hospitalized with HIV infection. AIDS units usually deal with all facets of care: they offer not only medical expertise but also social services, psychological support, advice on nutrition, addiction services, and access to AIDS-advocacy groups. In short, they offer the same services to someone in the hospital that comprehensive care programs (discussed previously in this chapter) offer to an outpatient. In many instances, the AIDS unit is part of a comprehensive care program.     The person on an AIDS unit will receive a level of expert medical care not generally available to a person with AIDS on, for example, a general medical ward. In addition, the people providing the care on an AIDS unit have specifically chosen to work with people with HIV infection. The principal disadvantage to being on an AIDS unit is that your diagnosis is obvious to visitors. Hospitals with AIDS units usually offer the person the option of care on this unit or care elsewhere in the hospital.*159\191\2*

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