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Read Now: News and Research From IDWeek 2014

HIV in the Classroom: Social Work Students Discuss Matching Medicine With Compassion

June 18, 2013

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Terri Wilder

Can you tell us why you decided to teach a class called "HIV and Social Work" here in New York City?

Terri Wilder: Well, I'm fortunate that I work for Fordham University and they decided to offer it. Because I didn't have the opportunity when I was getting my bachelor's and my master's to take a class called "HIV and Social Work," because it wasn't available. So, one of the reasons why I teach it is because it's available to be taught. It's one of the classes I'm most passionate about. I teach it every semester that I'm able to, because I think it's really critical to have a place for social workers to learn about HIV, to learn about our history in HIV social services, and also just to make sure that social workers have a place, whether they think they're going to work in HIV or not.

I always start out my class by saying, "Whether you want to have a career in HIV social services or not, I promise you, you will have a client who is living with HIV. And social workers are a lot of times the people who wear multiple hats at organizations. We're educators, we're brokers, we're advocates, and having a really good basic understanding of HIV, I think, is really critical. Because there's nothing worse in the world than having a client who comes to you and you don't know how to help them. So I think this "HIV and Social Work" class at Fordham University is really important in social work education, and I'm really grateful that Fordham University has taken leadership in offering it to their students.





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