It’s a cliché that adults tend to forget what it was like to be young. But for care providers who serve adolescents with HIV, it’s even more crucial that they check their prejudices at the door. Bad enough that, as reported on page 108, “nearly half of adolescent visits with doctors last less than 10 minutes”—inadequate time for good care, let alone risk-reduction education. Worse, even that meager time—and longer sessions with social workers, psychologists and counselors—is too often spent lecturing rather than listening, exercising authority rather than empowering. Yet for young people with HIV, it’s just that type of respect, understanding and support that can make all the difference.
September 1, 1998 • By Bob Lederer