Clinician With a Conscience
Antiretrovirals may do the physical job of keeping HIV suppressed, but successful HIV treatment requires another essential component: a doctor who fights for their patients' access to care. This is particularly crucial for the large percentage of people with HIV who come from marginalized communities—people who otherwise might fall through the treatment cracks in a health care system that too often fails to meet their needs.
Tonia Poteat, Ph.D., M.P.H., PA-C, is an assistant professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Since the early 1990s, she has pursued a career of HIV advocacy, research, teaching, and clinical practice that focuses on LGBTQ health disparities, with specific attention to transgender communities. For her, the fight is the point: "Our will to fight [HIV] tells us a lot about who we can be," she says. "I never get tired of being part of that fight."