SAN FRANCISCO — Finding a doctor willing to care for them is hard for people with HIV ailments. That may not change much despite a new education effort announced here by the American Medical Assn.
A study released here this week found that 63% of medical school residents asked anonymously said they would avoid AIDS patients. Just 17% said they would accept AIDS patients.
Dr. Hacib Auon of Baltimore, who was infected with the human immunodeficienty virus seven years ago while treating a leukemia patient at Johns Hopkins University, said in a talk to physicians and AIDS researchers that he learned a bitter lesson when colleagues turned their backs on him.
He said friends, doctors and fellow medical students shunned him. Once the chief resident at Johns Hopkins, Auon has since done legal battle with the university and reportedly had to fight the school for the right to speak here.
"Organized medicine has no room for a physician with AIDS," said Auon, 34, who is married with a young daughter. "What an awful message to send to society."
To the physicians in the audience, he added: "Next time that you have the opportunity to care for an AIDS patient, I hope you extend your hand."
Another 140 protesters were arrested Friday afternoon by San Francisco police, this time for sitting down and blocking a busy intersection to demonstrate for more services for women and minorities with AIDS.
Police said the arrest total for the week is now more than 280, including a few news media members who got caught when officers swooped on the protesters.
The arrested were mainly from the group ACT UP, which organized the protest.
At a cocktails-and-crudites reception Thursday evening in the Nikko Hotel, about 75 AIDS professionals politely applauded the news from a series of clinical drug trials by the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
But at the mention of Madonna, the room erupted.
Madonna, it was announced, has agreed to donate all profits from the closing concert of her current "Blond Ambition" tour to the clinical trials program. The gift from the sold-out concert at the Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey could exceed $300,000, and the money could be in the clinics by mid-July.
"We literally are overwhelmed by the generosity of Madonna's gift," said Dr. Mathilde Krim, the group's founding co-chair.
It was the second time during the conference that the American Foundation for AIDS Research made a celebrity coup. The group also produced Elizabeth Taylor for her first appearance since being hospitalized in Santa Monica for pnuemonia.
Taylor made a brief appearance before more than 100 of the AIDS field's biggest stars at a reception at the trendy Postrio restaurant. The audience waited patiently for more than an hour for a glimpse of Taylor, who spoke about for seven minutes from a podium, then was helped out of the room.