June #196 : What’s the Diagnosis? - by Trenton Straube

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POZ at 20

From the Editor

Alive and Kicking


Letters-June 2014


Survival by Design

POZ Planet

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What’s the Diagnosis?

The State of Louisiana

I Have Something to Tell You

Say What? Egyptian Army Edition

Preppy Style

Law & Order

Positive Leadership


The New War

Care and Treatment

Seeing the Doctor Is Vital When CD4s Are Low

HIV Rates in Black MSM Linked to STIs and Economics

Inflammatory Marker Linked to Raised Risk of Death

Big Pharma Plotted to Prop Up South African Drug Patents

Half-baked Headlines Claim that Pot Stops HIV

Research Notes

Prevention: Genetically Tooled Antibodies Fight HIV

Treatment: Benefit of Counseling With Computers

Cure: Memory Stem Cells: Reservoir Backbone?

Concerns: Youths With HIV Enter Care Late

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Flesh and Blood

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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June 2014

What’s the Diagnosis?

by Trenton Straube

AIDS doc’s memoir takes the pulse of our health care system.

Michael Saag Michael Saag, MD, was training to become a cardiologist in the early 1980s when he was sidetracked by the emerging AIDS epidemic. Lucky for us. He soon became a leading researcher and doctor, opening an AIDS clinic in 1988 through the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In his memoir Positive: One Doctor’s Personal Encounters With Death, Life, and the US Healthcare System, Saag offers more than a fascinating viewpoint of the virus. Through heartfelt (and at times harrowing) stories, he weaves together a parallel narrative of the health care business.

In 2014, Saag still sees many challenges facing people living with HIV. The biggest? “Internalized stigma. There’s a feeling that they have done something wrong. They feel ashamed about their status and don’t want to share it. That affects their health care. They hide medicines or don’t take them if somebody’s around.”

Thanks to Obamacare, people can now avoid financial ruin if they have a serious illness, Saag explains, but our health care is still ailing. “We have a fragmented, chaotic system,” he says. “Unless we pull together like we did in the fight against AIDS, to fight against this inefficient system that’s ridiculously expensive, we’re never going to have the change we want."

Search: Michael Saag, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, health care

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