HIV and homophobia: nurses as advocates


  • Peter A Mackereth MA RGN RNT CertEd

    1. Consultant Nurse, TENDA (The European Nursing Development Agency), Tameside General Hospital, Fountain Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire OL6 9RW, England
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Nurses are frequently encouraged in colleges of nursing and professional journals to consider themselves as ideally placed to act as advocates for vulnerable patients This paper sets out to challenge this assumption in the light of the stigma and discrimination experienced by people affected by HIV and AIDS Sexuality and in particular homophobia — the fear and aversion of gay and lesbian behaviour — need to be addressed by the nursing profession The paper considers concerns about and evidence of discrimination in the light of nurses’ claim to be best placed to adopt the role of advocate in representing any patient's health care needs It is argued that such an assumption is problematical in the face of homophobia and fears around contagion