‘Compassion,’ ‘Sense of Justice’ Could ‘Motivate’ Washington, D.C., To ‘Do More’ for HIV-Positive People, Opinion Piece Says
"[C]ompassion and a sense of justice can motivate" the Washington, D.C., community "to do more" for people living with HIV/AIDS in the district, Patricia Wudel -- executive director of Joseph's House, which provides hospice services for HIV-positive people -- writes in a Washington Post opinion piece in response to an earlier opinion piece by columnist Courtland Milloy (Wudel, Washington Post, 3/29). Milloy in response to a report on HIV/AIDS in the district released earlier this month writes that city officials "plan to develop a new and improved public awareness campaign," adding, "Such efforts will no doubt take time and involve focus groups and require lots of data and even more money. A person could contract AIDS and be dead by then" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/18).
Wudel writes that Milloy's comments were a "reasonable first response" to the report but that Joseph's House clients "are dying not only from [HIV/AIDS] itself but also because the rest of us lack the will to combat poverty and the conditions that come with it, including AIDS, homelessness and substance abuse." She adds that "[c]ompassion" for HIV-positive people "isn't enough without justice." Wudel asks, "To what degree does our work at Joseph's House lessen the pressure on the wider society to confront" HIV/AIDS in the district? She answers, "I don't know. But I know what I see," adding that people living with HIV/AIDS in the district are "suffering." She adds that HIV-positive people are "cared for with compassion and respect" at Joseph's House, concluding, "They needed to receive it sooner" (Washington Post, 3/29).