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Can I come work for you?
Jul 6, 2006

Hey Dr. Bob,

I've been reading your forum for a while now and I must add myself to your ever-growing fan club! I think Tim over at aidsmeds.com captured my thoughts exactly when he said that there are angels walking the earth and Dr. Bob is one of them. I am not religious (although I am spiritual), and yet the expression that keeps coming to mind in reference to you is, bless you. May the powers of the universe, the love of all the people you have touched, and your own wonderful positive energy keep you happy and well until your very last moment on earth, and may that moment not come for a very, very long time still. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being such an inspiration for everyone, "virally-enhanced" or not.

FYI, I am a 33-year-old heterosexual female WW with a long-time sometimes-irrational fear of HIV. I practice safer sex, get tested every year and yep I got a wonderful therapist. My most recent irrational-fear incident involves deep-kissing a high-risk guy while I had two or three canker sores (which I do get on occasion, have since I was a kid). I didn't even think about the whole episode until my annual checkup came up six weeks later - THEN I decided to freak and showed up for my tests with a low-grade fever and a scratchy throat. Tests showed "remarkably good health" (low-grade fever and scratchy throat notwithstanding) and were negative for all STD's including HIV. Low-grade fever went away 3-4 days later, but, scratchy throat and hoarse voice are still here 3+ weeks later. I also got a yeast infection at about the 3-weeks mark (a rare thing for me) which did not clear up with the medication my GYN gave me (never happened before). My GP checked me out and said that indeed, my epiglottis is a little inflamed but no pus and lymph nodes and liver are completely normal. I know I'm being paranoid. All the same, it would be nice to hear from YOU that my symptoms do not sound worrisome and you don't think a 3-month repeat test is warranted!

Okay, now on to the employment question! I can't REALLY come work for you, as I do not currently live in the US and I have no plans to change that, not while that dimwit and his cronies are in power and are turning the US into a more backward country with a more totalitarian regime than the one in the long-embargoed neighboring island to the south (I recently visited both the US and the aforementioned island, and I swear I felt I had MUCH fewer personal liberties in the US). But, Dr. Bob, having spent many hours reading this forum I feel very strongly that the most important thing that can be done to help stop the pandemic has to do with education and awareness - so that the stigma will be removed, people will protect themselves and others, and more funds will be raised. I do not blame people for freaking out when they feel a positive test result will ruin their lives, will marginalize them, make them lose jobs and friends and even keep them from traveling - I mean, Jeez. So, mon cher et tres tres beau docteur (hey - with all those straight boys complimenting you, I thought I might set the balance a little, uh, straighter), tell me where to start. I certainly will donate money, but how about something with a little more SOUL as well? I want to educate people. I would be happy to go to testing centers and hold people's hands while they wait for their test results (I think it's just brilliant that you do that!) and tell them that I've been there myself and that no matter the outcome, you can have a full and happy and productive life - and you may even end up counting a positive test result as a positive life event or a blessing in disguise. Unfortunately, the country where I live (Greece) is incredibly backwards when it comes to counseling and most people in the medical establishment are remarkably callous. The official government-run testing center, which happens to be close to where I live, actually FREAKS already freaked-out test seekers out even further. Maybe they're not the people I need to approach, but how do I go about finding those people? Maybe I can do something over the internet? Maybe I can help Gary out with his (your) book! Maybe I can help you give a concert in Greece, if you would do it - I do have the fortune of knowing people who are in positions to do that, although I understand charity work can often be a very political and egotistical pursuit for those in true positions of power. But I'd be more than willing to give it a shot, and if it fails we'll come up with something else.

Please don't tell me to just educate anyone who will listen to me long enough, I already do that!!

Best regards to Dr. Steve whose answers I also sometimes read, and who is every bit as gorgeous, gifted, generous and inspirational as you. I'm so glad you two found each other!

Much love and big kisses to you both from Greece. Une Greque

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Wow, with all the "bless yous" I've been getting lately, I feel like I should be sneezing more often!

Your warm comments and loving words are greatly appreciated!

Regarding your "recent irrational-fear incident," I absolutely agree it qualifies as an "irrational-fear incident!" your symptoms are not worrisome for or suggestive of HIV ARS or HIV disease. I see absolutely no need for further testing or worrying!

I've been to Greece at last 10 times over the years, most recently in the summer of 2004 and fall of 2005. I've always found Greeks to be compassionate and warmly animated (especially after a shot of ouzo)! I'm sure another trip will be in the cards before too long.

AIDS service organizations worldwide are always clamoring and begging for volunteers. I'm not sure what part of Greece you reside in, but you might try Googling "AIDS service organizations" and the name of your closest city or town. Chances are you'll get a list from which you'll be able to choose. As for helping Gary with the book, I'll bet after perusing the voluminous archives on this site, he too may be clamoring and begging for assistance!

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes about how to succeed in helping others:

TO LAUGH OFTEN AND MUCH; TO WIN THE RESPECT OF INTELLIGENT PEOPLE AND THE AFFECTION OF CHILDREN; TO EARN THE APPRECIATION OF HONEST CRITICS AND ENDURE THE BETRAYAL OF FALSE FRIENDS; TO APPRECIATE BEAUTY; TO FIND THE BEST IN OTHERS; TO LEAVE THIS WORLD A BIT BETTER, WHETHER BY A HEALTHY CHILD, A GARDEN PATCH OR REDEEMED SOCIAL CONDITION; TO KNOW EVEN ONE LIFE HAS BREATHED EASIER BECAUSE YOU HAVE LIVED; THIS IS TO HAVE SUCCEEDED. RALPH WALDO EMERSON

See, the opportunities are universal, ubiquitous and endless.

Be well. Stay well. Many thanks.

Dr. Bob


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