The stigma: Many women avoided doctors, public clinics and programs because they didn't want family or friends to know they were infected.
Red tape: HIV/AIDS programs often require long and intrusive forms, and send women from office to office to get services. Many women had no idea where, in a jumble of agencies, to find help.
. . .
Putting family first: Some women reported having no time for medical care because they were too busy earning money and taking care of their families.
Denial: Some women insisted they were misdiagnosed or felt fine.
Misconceptions and mistrust: Some thought that being infected meant they were only carriers, not sick. Others, including many Caribbean immigrants, rely solely on folk remedies or religion.
Inadequate access: Hurdles to health care include a scarcity of local doctors, long waits at clinics and a lack of public transportation and day care.
Lax followup: Doctors, clinics and emergency rooms struggle to make sure patients keep taking medicine. No agency takes charge.
Giving up: Some infected drug users and prostitutes don't bother seeking treatment because they are ashamed about their history. Others assume HIV equals death.
. . .
Other obstacles found by the study: Some programs do not provide care unless patients are drug free, some patients suffer debilitating side effects from meds and some report disrespectful treatment by assistants at clinics and doctors'Some of these barriers can be torn down with more intensive education of both clients and providers. Building some trust would help out a bit, too. But the red tape and the clear evidence of lack of funding needs more attention at the higher levels of planning and policy. We could stand some of that in Texas, too, I'd say.