I've always thought of DC as the metropolitan capital of the US, swaying the decisions of the world, where important people schmooze with other important people. I was here 2 years ago taking part in a course at the NIH in preparation for a fellowship in Botswana, and now am back in a very different capacity, but exciting nonetheless.
After many delays at the Philly airport, arguing with an angry cab driver, and checking in to the wrong hotel, we finally arrived at our hotel in Georgetown. The weather is surprisingly pleasant, the people friendly and the shopping looks fabulous! My moving company has just called and informed me that my furniture will be a week late, and I can’t get a permit for my car yet. Somehow, this disorder adds to the excitement of starting a surgery internship. It reminds me of the chaos of moving to Botswana.
I just read an article from the South African Aids Conference in Durban. There was a controversial discussion about instituting mandatory HIV testing. My first thought is that in the US, individual rights are central to the way its society functions, and that mandatory HIV testing would never happen. But then I wondered about the mandatory isolation of TB patients, and all of the alarm that was raised by the XDR TB infected man traveling. Personally, I feel that mandatory HIV testing is an excellent idea if implemented carefully. Measures to protect those who are found to be HIV positive are essential; there is still so much stigma associated with HIV that this is issue that has to be thought about carefully. But health-wise and economically, mandatory testing seems advantageous. Most children in the US require immunizations to attend school- why not implement other protective measures in areas with a high incidence of HIV?