Where There Is No Dentist 2012 201
Think of Yourself as a Teacher
As a dental worker, you will be able to improve the health of the people in
your community and help prevent the spread of HIV if you think of yourself
as a teacher. The knowledge you share can have a more lasting impact on
the health and well-being of a community than your skills as a dental worker.
By making connections with people and organizations working on different
aspects of HIV, you will learn new information that can help you and your
community. Contact local, regional, and national groups who work on HIV
education and prevention, on providing service for people with HIV, and on
expanding access to ARVs and other medicines.
Help people with the
resources you have, and
think about where you
might find more resources
to help meet people’s
If all health workers can give the same correct, up-to-date information, it will
help prevent the fear caused by wrong ideas about AIDS. If their neighbors are
not afraid of them, people with HIV—as well as those who care for them—
can become more accepted in the community. Then they can help others
understand every person’s real risk of getting HIV. So learn as much as you
can about HIV and share the information with everyone.
• Give advice to the people you treat, especially those most at risk for
getting infected, such as young people, migrants and refugees, sex
workers, drug users who share needles, and anyone having sex with
more than one faithful partner.
• Fight for improvements in the social and legal services available for
people with HIV. Remember, the fight is against the conditions that
lead to the spread of HIV, and not against people who have HIV.
Fight to end discrimination against those infected
with HIV. Discrimination is an obstacle to care. It
may stop people from coming for treatment and it
may stop people from learning how to prevent the
spread of infection.