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Recomendations for Safety
Dec 31, 2003

Dear Dr. Frascino,

I am a monk. One of my duties in our monestary is to shave the heads of some of the other men. I have recently found out that one new man had contracted AIDS in the millitary, prior to his becoming a monk. I have shaved his head twice and might have had minimal contact with his blood. He only recently found out, so previously I was unaware. He assured me it is not a big risk. That being said, I have been asked by the temple authorities to compile data so as to create a working policy for our center, in the matter of dealing with HIV positive persons.

I am also anxious to find out the risk of exposure to myself, and any others who my be dealing with him in the way I have previously described.

I'm sure this is an ignorant question, but we teach that when one must know they must humbly approach an expert.

Thank you Your Servant Jaga Das

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Jaga Das,

First off, please note I don't have any "servants." I'm here to help, and there is no such thing as an ignorant question. If you knew the answer, I'm assuming you wouldn't be asking.

Next, you are at no significant risk from the activity you describe. The monk who was monkeying around in the military poses no significant risk to you or others, as long as you are not having unprotected sex or sharing dirty intravenous needles with him. As for "compiling data to create a working policy . . .," there are many excellent resources available to you, such as this website and related links, Project Inform, POZ Magazine, Gay Men's Health Crisis, AIDS Treatment News, etc., etc., etc.

Finally, I do hope that as your center compiles this data, they include information about compassion for those infected -- not only how to give a safe close head shave. Please give the HIV-positive monk a warm hug from me and advise him that if he has questions, we are here to help (not serve) him too.

Happy Holidays.

Dr. Bob



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