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On Being a Doctor |

Honor, Home, Heritage, and HIV

Kartik K. Venkatesh, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.


Requests for Single Reprints: Kartik K. Venkatesh, MD, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Box G8488, Providence, RI 02912; e-mail, kartik_venkatesh@brown.edu.


Ann Intern Med. 2009;150(4):277-278. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-150-4-200902170-00012
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At 8 a.m., it was already 101 °F indoors. The waiting room, adorned with posters proclaiming the primacy of marital fidelity, was filled with couples whose physical appearance confirmed the clinical pattern I had come to examine every day. Sick men presented with advanced disease accompanied by their still-asymptomatic wives whose own disease status remained unknown. Patients camped out on the hospital grounds. Entire families came by bus and train to the big city a few times a year for treatment so that nobody back home would know about their disease. In the best of scenarios, their suffering remained an enigma back in the village.

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