Wang Kerong, Nurse in the Response to AIDS

  • April 8, 2014
  • Editor: Leo Yin
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Wang Kerong, Nurse in the Response to AIDS
Wang Kerong, the head nurse of the Infection Center of Beijing Ditan Hospital, and an office director of the Beijing Red Ribbon Home, devotes herself to caring for people living with HIV and trying hard to end discrimination against them. [youth.cn]

"I've had this dream for a long time that patients with HIV-related illness can receive timely medical treatment without discrimination and live the same normal lives as other people," said Wang Kerong, a caring nurse in the response to AIDS. 

Wang Kerong is the head nurse of the Infection Center of Beijing Ditan Hospital, and an office director of The Home of Red Ribbon, an organization dedicated to helping those living with HIV. She has won many honors for her outstanding contributions in the response to AIDS over the past 16 years, including the Florence Nightingale Prize in 2013 and Barry & Martin's Prize in 2005. 

Wang has been to Wenlou, the notorious 'AIDS Village' in central China's Henan Province, more than 30 times to conduct AIDS-related work. She usually comes to universities and communities to call on more people to participate in the volunteer work of serving people living with HIV. 

No matter whoever comes to Wang for help, she will give the person her business card and say: "Please contact me if you need help." Now her cellphone has over 700 patients' telephone numbers. She uses her mobile phone to contact HIV-positive people all over China and doesn't know exactly how many she has helped out of their confusion and towards a new life.

Getting Over the Fear of AIDS

"Hello, this is The Home of Red Ribbon. What can I do for you?" the hotline operators greet callers every day. In the beginning, Wang and her colleagues were responsible for answering the calls to clarify various issues, but now the operators consist of volunteers who have received professional training, including some with HIV. 

Wang said she answered several calls last night. One patient suffering from femoral head necrosis asked her to help him transfer to Ditan Hospital for an operation because the medical condition of the hospital he was in is very poor. 

Another patient who just tried a different medicine had a daily, productive cough asked her whether this symptom was caused by the new medicine. 

Wang stated that people used to be scared by AIDS because it can’t be cured but now the syndrome can be well-controlled by modern treatment and some even gradually recover with timely therapy. Besides, HIV prevention has achieved great success since the disease was first discovered over 30 years ago. 

Ending Discrimination

The Home of Red Ribbon sometimes organizes meals for HIV-positive people in the hope of ending the discrimination against them and letting more people know that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact such as shaking hands, sharing food and talking face-to-face . 

"It is not so difficult to take care of a patient with HIV-related illness because HIV is only spread through unprotected sexual contact, transfusion of infected blood and a HIV-positive mother breastfeeding her baby," said Wang. 

Although Wang is confident about HIV prevention, she is deeply worried over the rising number of various social issues caused by HIV epidemic. 

There was an HIV-positive person who was in a traffic accident was refused admittance by two hospitals and finally was rushed to Ditan Hospital, 18.6 miles away from the two hospitals, which reveals the plight of China's HIV-positive people who face great discrimination when attempting to access medical treatment. 

But some doctors said the problem lies in neither patients nor doctors. It is in the deficiencies of government regulations, which allow doctors to redirect patients with HIV to other hospitals designated to treat those with infectious diseases.

According to Wang, patients with HIV still experience discrimination on many occasions and we should enhance our efforts to end the discrimination and give more mental support to them. 

Wang recommended improving relevant policies, promoting awareness of the medical rights of HIV-positive people, and strengthening the implementation of universal precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent contraction of the virus.

Wang said more volunteers were needed and she organized many activities in universities, communities, and rural areas to popularize HIV prevention information.

"Medical workers have the responsibility to look after people living with HIV and the love can pass on," said Wang, "When they feel they are respected and cared about by others, they will be pleased to help others."

Now many HIV-positive people regard Wang as their relative, which makes her feel rewarded for her devoted work over the past 16 years. 

When asked whether Wang has a dream, she replied with smile, "I've had this dream for a long time that patients with HIV-related illness can receive timely medical treatment without discrimination and live the same normal lives as other people." 

(Source: youth.cn/Translated by womenofchina.cn)

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