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World AIDS Day

Health & Wellness

In honor of World Aids Day, we would like to commemorate those who have passed away from HIV/AIDS. Read what our HIV Clinical Team had to say about the progress and advances in the field of HIV. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our Infectious Diseases Department or call 202.741.3333 

Aimee Desrosiers, Physician Assistant Clinical Trials Unit“My father was an HIV researcher so when HIV first came about in the 80’s, it was always a topic of conversation in my household. Either consciously or subconsciously that stuck with me and impacted my career choice. I’ve been doing this since 2005, and we’ve come quite a long way since then. When I first started working here, we were seeing a new diagnosis every day. We try to reassure our patients when they come in for the first time that they are going to be okay - HIV is not the same disease it was 10 or 20 years ago. Here we are in 2017, we hardly ever see a new diagnosis. That’s a great place to be over 12 years! “

-Aimee Desrosiers, Physician Assistant Clinical Trials Unit

Beverly Bentley, Clinical Trials Research Coordinator“I’ve been working in HIV research for about 8 years. What motivates me to work in research as a whole whether it’s HIV, or any other disease, is to make a difference in the quality of life for the patients for years to come. I think anybody in any type of research does it to make a difference. It’s a good feeling when you actually see it go from a concept to a drug on the market that actually changes a person’s life.

I remember when HIV was first discovered in the 80’s and people viewed it as a death sentence. It had a stigma and shame with it and now it’s just like any other illness. You’re diabetic you take pills for diabetes, you have HIV you take pills for HIV. It doesn’t have that stigma with me - or hopefully with the public in general - that it had when it was first announced as a ‘gay man’s’ disease, and we know that’s not the case.”

 -Beverly Bentley, Clinical Trials Research Coordinator 

Nicole Swanson, Clinical Trials Research Coordinator“It doesn’t matter what race or gender or sexual orientation you are. It’s interesting for me to see that HIV crosses all those boundaries, and it’s important to educate people not only when they are diagnosed, but also on prevention.

I went from not knowing anyone with HIV to knowing lots of people, and everyone is different. Every person has their own background and it doesn’t really matter which background you come from. It’s important to get care, stay in care, and take care of yourself.

If you are newly diagnosed, it’s very important to be selfish at that point and really know what you need in order to take care of yourself. Fight for yourself, fight for the things you need, because there are programs that are available if you just ask the right questions. Being the biggest advocate for yourself is very important.”

-Nicole Swanson, Clinical Trials Research Coordinator