Breaking barriers for HIV patients

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There are some patients who just do not trust the medical system or perhaps their belief system keeps them away from doctors. There is a nurse practitioner at New Hanover Regional Medical Center reaching out to make a difference in their lives and it stems back to her mother. She has worked to use that aspect of her life to save so many others.

“It’s sort of like, me giving back to the opportunity that my mother did not have,” LeShonda Wallace said.

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She is a nurse practitioner and has helped dozens of people fight HIV. It all goes back to her mom.

“Initially in 1990, my mother, she was diagnosed with HIV and she went untreated until she passed in 1998,” Wallace said.

This was because of her mom’s religious beliefs. For that reason and with HIV rates increasing in the South, Wallace helps break down those barriers, whether it is because of religion, culture, or personal beliefs.



“My mother dealt a lot with spirituality and her faith, which it can uphold a lot of people and get them to a healthier life that they aspire to but sometimes when they deal with some moral convictions, it can sometimes go downhill,” Wallace said.

She makes sure she is always in touch with her patients. One of Wallace’s patients who does not want to be identified, we will call her Marissa, says Wallace had a deep impact on her life after her diagnosis.

“She never really pressured me, you know what I mean? But she was concerned. She was just like ‘I just want you to make sure you know where you are with your numbers and when you’re ready, then we’ll start the medication,” Marissa said.

But overtime, that all changed for the better.

“I wasn’t going to take the medication but, she helped me to realize and see the importance of taking it,” Marissa said.

Wallace says once they manage the HIV, they focus on everything else, especially developing friendships.