Tales of government failure to provide adequate medical and psychological care for troops returning from Iraq bombarded airwaves last winter. Then, in April, it was revealed that the army’s main hospital, Washington, DC’s Walter Reed Medical Center, would close by 2011. It treats hundreds of positive service-people; were they hurt by the medical misfires? “I get more guidance and feel like I am given the best care possible at Walter Reed,” says Reverend Stacey Latimer, 44, who was sent there after his 1986 diagnosis. Although Latimer left the army in ’89, he still gets care at Walter Reed and participates in its HIV-related clinical trials. Walter Reed’s Colonel Clifton Hawkes, MD, adds: “Early on it was recognized that HIV is complex. [Walter Reed has] a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, case managers, psychiatrists, social workers and pharmacists.” Other positive vets told POZ the team works for them. To have a fighting chance at Walter Reed, must you be fighting AIDS too?
Walter Reed’s positive soldiers: all they can be?