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what can the average joe do?
Apr 2, 2003

hi Dr. Frascino,

what can the average person contribute to help speeding up the search for a cure for hiv?

treatment, prevention... expremely important, and lots of organizations which can help and lots of oppertunities to donate.

but what about a NGO/taskforce for setting up a project dedicated for the quest of the holy grail, the cure for hiv? is there such a group?

what can we do in Europe and what in the U.S.?

thanks, joe

(negative according to 9 month antibody test but very annoyed by the fact that this virus exists)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Joe,

"Annoyed" by the fact that his virus even exists is putting it mildly! Im absoFRICKIN' furious!

Congrats on your negative 9-month test! WOO-HOO!

Holy grail is being pursued by lots of NGO and non-NGOs. The most important thing is to put resources where they will do the most good. This virus is damn crafty, and will not be easily defeated. Government and non-government research groups continue to plod along. Pharmaceutical companies are racing to find effective treatments.

What can you do? Pick the aspect of the fight against HIV/AIDS that you want to contribute to, whether it be HIV prevention, education, providing treatments to those who have no access or resources to get them, or whatever. Then volunteer your time or make a donation. Our foundation works on many fronts simultaneously. It helps recycle unused or unwanted HIV meds and ships them to HIV-positive folks in countries where there is no access to these expensive life-prolonging drugs. It also provides medications to HIV-infected pregnant women in Africa to help prevent vertical transmission (from infected mother to unborn child) of the virus. It only costs 80 cents to treat a mother-infant pair! We also arrange for AIDS Memorial Quilt displays to raise awareness of the epidemic, and give educational symposia to those infected by the virus and also to physicians and healthcare workers. As you can see, there is much to be done. Just today, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $60 million to the International Partnership for Microbicides, a non-profit NGO dedicated to speeding the development and distribution of topical means (like foams or gels) of preventing HIV transmission. Its estimated that $500 million will be needed to bring a product like this to market. Even if all that money is raised and all the clinical trials are successful, microbicides wouldnt hit the market until 2010 in the best-case scenario. So, like I said, you can see, there is much work to be done. But every small step taken by each one of us gets all of us closer to that "holy grail."

Thanks for your interest in helping us all on this challenging journey.

Dr. Bob



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