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MY FRIEND'S LIFE IS ON THE LINE..SERIOUSLY!! PLEASE HELP.
May 30, 2005

Hello Dr. Bob, Like all the other sane people who visit here (unknown %), I am in awe and debt to your unique and generous service. My problem: A close friend of mine was diagnosed HIV Positive about 8 years ago. He refuses to go on any HIV medications. His reasoning is based on information he has read from a website called "ALIVE AND WELL". Which gives alternative perspectives on HIV in terms of whether or not it leads to AIDS, (listing other natural conditions which can cause a person to test positive). The website also questions the safety and legitimacy of HIV drugs. I decided to play along because I am not sure if he's wrong or right, and I believe hope is a powerful emotion. But lately he has not been looking well, and I think his health is declining. I love my friend very much and I will do anything I can to help him. If you believe that his only real chance of avoiding AIDS is to start medication, could you please give me some real solid info I can pass on to him? I really appreciate it. I believe his life depends on it. Thank you sincerely, Matthew.

P.S., have you heard of this website, and what are your opinions regarding the idea that HIV does not cause AIDS?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Hope is indeed a powerful emotion; however, so is denial. Hope and optimism are both warranted and helpful in coping with HIV disease. Denial, on the other hand, can be lethal. The first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported 24 years ago. We have learned much over the ensuing 2+ decades. There is no longer any question that HIV is the cause of AIDS. There is also no question regarding the legitimacy of potent antiretroviral therapy. There has been a remarkable decrease in the morbidity and mortality among persons living with HIV infection, directly resulting form the introduction of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) in 1996 coupled with improved access to care and prophylaxis against opportunistic infections. To continue to deny these well-documented facts out of fear or stubbornness is not only illogical, but also very dangerous. Whether or not your friend starts medication, he needs to be under the care of a compassionate and competent HIV specialist. For "solid information," I'd suggest you have him sign on to this Web site and its related links.

Good luck to both you and your friend.

Dr. Bob



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