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My Congregation Is HIV Positive, And So Is Yours

I want to continue my thoughts from my last post when a patient asked me where my church is when he heard that I’m a minister. I responded with “It is here, you are sitting in it.” I wasn’t kidding.

This clinic really is my congregation, and I love its members and staff. If I’m

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What Is An HIV Rev?

Recently one our patients at the clinic where I work looked at my name badge and saw the word “Chaplain.”

“What the heck is a Chaplain?” he asked in good faith with a wrinkled brow. “Good question,” I said.

He was not interested in knowing how many degrees I had from a theological graduate school

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A View from the Other Side

This week I have been reminded what it is like to have a family member who is ill. I am usually on the other side of this equation being a member of the medical team who cares for persons who are sick and their family members. The shoe is now on the other foot.


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The Lost and Found

I have worked closely with my colleague, Dr. Jim Raper (pictured right), for almost 15 years in the clinic. I am amazed at his work ethic and compassion for the human family.

Recently, I was struck by his patience with a woman at the clinic whom he refers to as “one who is lost.” Of

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Breaking Down Barriers to HIV Care

I had lunch with 20 of our patients this week and asked them to teach me about “Barriers to HIV Care.” I asked,

“Are you aware of reasons that might get in the way of you coming to your doctor’s appointment?”

The lunch

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Stupid Not To Ask

The frantic female voice on my voicemail yesterday said, “I feel really stupid asking this, but I just have to ask! I am a nurse, I know I should know better, but I was in a couple’s home yesterday and at the end of our conversation I asked them how their health is and they

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Infected by Hope

I was walking by one of our exam rooms in our outpatient HIV clinic today when a clear voice said to me, “Hey, how you doin?” with a unique New Jersey accent.

A Jersey accent gets my attention because I’m in Birmingham for one, and two, my wife lived in New Jersey for awhile growing

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The Green Bean Casserole Rule

It sounded like a strange request on the phone.

“Malcolm, can you ask my Support Team volunteers not to bring me any more green bean casserole to my house?” said the young man on the other end of the phone who was a patient at our clinic.

“Sure Mike, that’s not a

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Double Disclosure

“This is Jane. Can my husband and I meet with you?” the gentle voice asked on the phone. “We are having a hard time with our son’s diagnosis.”

It was the mother of one of our newly diagnosed 40-something year old patients. I had met the son and his parents a week earlier during a

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I Just Couldn’t Say No

“Jan” arrived in our waiting room, I introduced myself and we found a nearby available office. She was an attractive, petite, and educated young woman who was fashionably dressed in her mid 20’s and a worried look on her face.

“I’ve had this HIV OraQuick test before, in fact I was here a couple of

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