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HIV and stigma
Dec 12, 2009

I have been aids pos for 4 years since 05, since that time I had to quit my job because of cryptococcal menengitis, I tried short term disability but I was quietly pushed to file social security, sinece then I have found it impossible to get accepted in any social situation, I get meds from the VA and have found that their mental health system is a joke, they tried I guess but I have cognitive loss from the menegitis so Im sure Im pretty f&&cked up from HIV and having menegitis. I hear alot of horror stories and Im sure Im not the only one, it seems that people with aids get a bum rap from society, Ive never experienced anything like it in my life. I no longer answer my phone I pay only my mortgage and car payment and say screw the rest of it. Im mad, pissed off and therapy seems to be a joke, I suprised more HIV pos people have not gone over the edge. I know Im not the only one who feels like this. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

AIDS complicated by a significant opportunistic infection, such as cryptococcal meningitis, which result in cognitive impairment, is a very challenging situation. Cognitive impairment may well preclude your employment for many positions; however, it should not prevent your being accepted in social situations! Sure, if you always act all pissed off, mad and crazy (like Glenn Beck, for instance), I doubt most folks are going to want to friend you on Facebook or invite you to a dinner party. But barring that, I'd suggest you begin working on your support network by contacting your local AIDS service organizations. (Just Google AIDS service organizations and the name of your town or city and a list will pop up.) You may well benefit from joining a support group of folks with similar issues. Your HIV specialist physician should also have a list of support services that might be helpful. Hopefully, close friends and family members are being supportive as well. If the VA mental health service hasn't been helpful, consider going outside the VA system for a second opinion.

Many virally enhanced folks have indeed gone over the edge. Don't be one of them! I'm here if you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob


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