Don't Tell People the Truth
people are scared of telling the truth about AIDS. They say it will
cause panic. The trouble is, lack of trust in what is being said
officially can cause near hysteria---as we have seen in reactions to
infected surgeons or nurses recently.
experience is that people respect you for being honest. No one believes
you if you deliberately play down risks. You lose all credibility when
you give the impression something is safe and someone dies after doing
it. Common sense tells people that certain things must carry some risk.
is stupid to say that if you follow guidelines you cannot become
infected with the virus causing AIDS from looking after someone with
the disease. Accidents happen. Guidelines may be hard to follow in all
situations and they may have to be modified in the future in the light
of experience. People know there are risks in nursing a person with
AIDS, just as there are in being operated on by an infected surgeon.
There must be. Anyone knows that. What is needed is to convince people
that when you say these risks are very small you can really be trusted;
that you are not giving people a false sense of security in order to
persuade them to do something you know might be dangerous. When people
really trust that you are telling the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth---then they see what the risks really are and
feel secure in knowing what they are dealing with. Knowing the truth
allows them to make intelligent decisions about what to do.
I'm going to tell the truth as best I can.
is a lot of extra information in the endnotes. These are in a shorthand
that any librarian can understand. Sufficient information is given to
turn to the exact pages of scientific publications. For reasons of
space, authors' names and titles of papers have usually been omitted.
Newspapers are from the UK unless stated. Use the Index and
Not everything is referenced.
Sometimes a figure or comment has been jotted down and used later
although I cannot remember the source. Sometimes the source has been a
personal interview. Where I want to protect the person's identity the
reference is `personal communication'. Many reference materials can be
ordered from your local library or the librarian can advise you
further. Student friends, doctors, or nurses will have access to much
This book is about people.
Details of names, places, times and events have been altered where
necessary to protect identity. If you think you are reading about
someone or some place you know, you are probably mistaken. Some of the
medical case reports in Chapter 3 are compiled from real events in a number of people's lives.
This book is written from the perspective of a doctor who is also a church leader.
Bible passages are written in the endnotes. These need to be read in
context. Almost any argument can be constructed out of isolated Bible
quotations. For three consecutive years recently I made it my business
to read the Bible each year from start to finish---to catch its overall
meaning and avoid `verse grabbing' pitfalls. I encourage you to do the
Some parts of this book are sexually
explicit and some may find this offensive. As a doctor I deal with real
people in the real world who need accurate information and practical
help. I regret giving offence, but my goal is to save lives and to help