B20

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The code-name for patients with HIV. A code-name is used so doctors can safely talk about the patient's HIV status without alerting other patients or visitors (e.g. other patients sharing the same room, or visitors that don't know about the patient's HIV status), or making the patient feel judged.

As medical students, it is important to remember that there is a lot of social stigma around HIV status. Don't forget how HIV is transmitted. There are many other diseases that transmit much easier than HIV and are more fatal with much less stigma. Keep in mind that HIV AIDS patients have depressed immune systems and they are at a greater risk of catching a disease from you than you are from them. At the same time, keep in mind that they may have caught other diseases such as TB. Therefore, when you use protection such as gloves and masks, remember the reason you're doing it is NOT to protect against HIV transmission, but rather primarily to protect the patient and secondarily to protect yourself from other communicable diseases.

Do not give in to the stigma and fear surrounding HIV AIDS patients. They are often rejected by society and medical staff are their last refuge.