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re re:Travelling to the US
Jun 5, 2006

Dr. Wohl,

Thanks for replying to my rather heated comments. I really admire what you do and am grateful that you are here.

I apologize. I did not quite understand the question was regarding the guy's medicine and not about the legalities of travelling to the US as an HIV positive person.

But I am not quite sure judging from his question, that he understands that he has to lie about his status in order to gain entry to the US. This fact enrages me and I think that took over my better judgement regarding this question. Sorry about that.

Regarding advertising of HIV medicines, my wording was much to strong. I really don't think it's evil or immoral, but I do think it out of line as this money could be better spent. There is no advertising over here and awareness of the different meds and treatments are just as high as in the US.

I do have problems with the ads that use healthy, young muscular guys. There have been some on this website in fact. My problem is that I run into too many young guys in the US that think HIV is not such a big deal. I can't help but think this type of advertising might be to partially to blame. Showing health hot guys and girls with HIV sends mixed messages at best.

There are ways to educate HIV positive people about meds and treatments without using pictures of hot guys and girls.

You say this advertising is highly regulated. Please tell me by whom as I would love to share my thoughts and concerns with this regulating body.

As an America living in the UK that seroconverted over here, I can tell you that my experience with my UK health care system was much more, excuse the term, positive than my experience back home in the US. Needless to say, I am now somewhat disillusioned with the US health care system and have become a strong proponent of a national healthcare system for the US.

Do you think that will ever happen in the US?

As of now, I am content to stay in the UK and pay reasonable taxes for the very good care I receive knowing that I will never do without. I fear coming back to the US. What if I lose my job and health care along with it? How could I afford my life saving meds? I know several guys back home that deal with this. I think the stress of this aspect of HIV might be affecting their health.

Thanks again for being here. You don't have to post this. I just wanted to apologize, vent some more and relieve some of the guilt I have for admitting that I think my home country's health care system sucks compared to what I get in Europe.

I enjoy your answers and am a fan.

Thanks again, Larry

Response from Dr. Wohl

Dear Larry,

I appreciate your response and certainly understand your frustration with the US system. Just today I had to try to find meds for a patient who did not qualify for AIDS drug assistance. As someone who toils in a system full of inequities I hear you. A national program for health care reflects my belief that medical care is a right and all should have access to quality care regardless of ability to pay. Talk of such a program has become a political third rail and I think it is unlikely to happen anytime soon barring some kind of grassroots revolution.

The FDA is hardcore about drug ads. They are mostly looking at misleading claims or associations between the drug and some benefit. They are less likely to take issue with the appearance of the models. I agree with you that this is a problem. Merck was taken to task by the community not long ago for this positive spin and ads featuring robust athletic looking men.

There are many thing broken in our system here in the US: The uninsured, the high cost of meds, la ack of affordable dental and mental health care etc. On the other hand, I like working in a state of the art hospital using drugs developed by companies who - while looking to score a profit - also regularly kick out new and improved meds. My poorest of patients get most all their care at no charge and my few rich patients are not complaining. The ones in between are screwed and it is for them that I find myself scraping the barrel to get them what they need to live. This is our complicated and double edged system. Viva la revolution.

DW



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