|re: recently poz
Aug 30, 2005
I do think your reponse was out of line. What is there to understand about people taking risks?
I am exactly what you seem to loathe here, recently infected and knew better.
Why? Depressed, low self esteem, middle age crisis, inebriated. The hardest thing for me to do after getting my diagnosis was to not put a gun to my head out of shame. I had no idea it would be so devastating.
Don't doctors deal everyday with overweight, high blood pressure, smoking, lazy, people who gave themselves heart disease, diabetes, strokes, teenage pregnancies etc? Damn, people are so human. Thank god you guys are there with compassion to help those of us that destroy ourselves because we were abused as children and internalized years of immense pain and sadness and end up hurting ourselves.
Part two of this is what I now understand as HIV Inc. sending false messages to the gay community. When I sign on to this website the first thing I see is a pop up of a hot, healthy looking guy painting a brushtroke across the screen that subliminally says HIV is not so BAD.
I see gay publications full of such ads. If you are serious about helping to prevent the spread of HIV, you would boycott these ads, at the very least try to make them illegal like in most civilized countries in the world. These ads helped put in my head the idea that this disease was not so horrible.
Please stop these ads now.
I challenge you to do this, to organize your colleagues to boycott this madness.
I know it is not your fault I gave myself HIV, but I lay some blame on the drug companies for pushing the message with young, hot healthy looking guys subliminally saying that HIV is just a manageable condition. And some blame on the medical community for not telling the big drug companies to cut out this crap!
Thanks for letting me vent.
Response from Dr. Wohl
I appreciate your weighing in.
First, please believe me when I say that there is no loathing on my part or the part of anyone else who has posted regarding this issue. There certainly is frustration at the continued transmission of HIV as well as a gap in understanding how and why this is that posts like yours help fill.
Second, I feel there is much to understand about risk taking, especially when it comes to HIV. A difference between HIV and smoking, super sizing fast food and the rest is that the toll these take is mostly on the person making the choice to do these things. Of course, with HIV we are talking about a pandemic that is spreading. The actions of an individual in the case of HIV can and often does effect the lives of others directly. Your points about reserving judgement on those who make decisions that may not always be in their best interest are well taken and I think your advice to basically put yourself in someone's shoes and carry the baggage they have to carry is important to hear.
Lastly, about the ads. I have not seen them when I log on to this site but I know the type you mean. I agree that these do send a message of sunshine and hope that while intended as a positive message regarding the promise of these drugs can also be read to minimize how difficult living with this virus is. As you may know, Merck was roundly criticized for producing such ads and modified their subsequent campaigns in response. I would be interested in hearing what other readers/posters think about these types of ads.
Thanks again for venting and for doing so here,
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