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Traveling to US Correction
Jun 1, 2006

Dr. Wohl,

I don't mean to offend, but I thought that a medical professional would be aware of his own country's archaic laws regarding HIV and immigration. See : http://www.aidsandthelaw.com/issues/entry%20to%20US.htm

I'm an American with HIV living in Europe. The good old USA is not so good when it comes to treatment of people with HIV. I would be shocked that you weren't aware of this, but the more I learn about HIV incorporated, the less shocked I become regarding US standards.

Yes, it boils down to my love hate relationship with big pharma. The advertisement of prescription drugs is unethical and immoral. Most advanced western countries do not allow this. Why do American doctors put up with this? It is a travesty of the the medical profession. How can you be unbiased when it comes to prescribing the best drugs for your patients? How can we persuade big pharma to spend the money to look for a theraputic or preventative vaccine.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Larry in London

Response from Dr. Wohl

Larry, I am well aware of US policy regarding entry of those with HIV and certainly do not agree with it. I was not suggesting that the writer enter the country an announce his HIV status. The medications can likely be carried in a way that can minimize a breech of confidentiality and a well crafted letter by a sympathetic physician can help.

As far as your next point regarding big pharma, I disagree that drug ads are essentially evil or "immoral". Medications have become products and patients consumers who make choices. These ads are highly regulated and allow the makers of these drugs to make known their benefits. I am also struck at how ads in Poz and other mags have prompted my patients to ask more questions about drug choices and engage in discussions about medications and their indications. So, for me, it is not an issue of tolerating ads. It is making sure they are accurate and not misleading.

Lastly, do not assume pharma is not looking for a vaccine. Merck (the people who have now brought us the HPV vaccine), is putting considerable amount of time and $ into development of such vaccines.

DW



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