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Treating AIDS in Tennessee.

Author and physician Abraham Verghese. An Indian raised in Ethopia, Abraham Verghese arrived in the United States in 1980 as a rookie doctor. Upon completing an internship in infectious diseases, Dr. Verghese accepted a position in the rural, Appalachian town of Johnson City, Tennessee. The year was 1985 and AIDS had begun to ravage large metropolitan areas. Within the year, Dr. Verghese was treating his first case of AIDS in this rural outpost. Baffled by the arrival of the disease, he looked closer and discovered that his patients had not contracted HIV in Johnson City, rather they were choosing to return home to die. These men were seen as outsiders, not unlike the Indian Dr. Verghese, in this small town. In his memoir "My Own Country," (Simon & Schuster) Dr. Verghese captures the diversity of his patients and his own experience treating AIDS in rural America.

43:09

Other segments from the episode on May 23, 1994

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, May 23, 1994: interview with Abraham Verghese; Review of the Pretenders' album "Last of the Independents."

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