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alcoholism and risky behavior

Apr 14, 2004

Dear Dr. Frascino,

I am a resident (medical) and recently tested negative after three months for an exposure with a sex worker. I can't stress enough to everyone how important it is to get tested despite how scary it is. Your kind words and compassion are truly heroic. You will never truly understand how meaningful your approach is to those of us with such irrational fears. I rarely see MDs with the dignity that you respond to each message. Especially in these times of the HMOs. I felt that the one important part of my experience is that it led me to understand or expose my deeper problems with alcoholism. I have always been the "model" professional and as an MD we often think it always the other person's problem...never easy to be judgemental. I realized that thru many of my actions...from discord in my personal life, the use of sex workers, getting arrested for a dwi, among other risky behaviors all stemmed from a disease...alcoholism. I think in our country there is such a stigma associated with entities such as HIV and alcoholism that so many of us live in denial and fear...especially those of us who are made to feel as if we are better than others. I hate it so much when religious entities and politicians use these diseases to teach lessons and predicate upon peoples fear for their own deviant goals. We are all human beings and these are diseases that afflict all of us the same. It is high time that we seperate morality from medicine and let people get treated for HIV without fear of what others think. As I seek help with my addiction to alcohol, I know that I am going to use this experience to be a better person and a better doctor. I also have decided to raise money...I am in the midst of talking to my university pr officer to organize a charity event to raise money for children born with hiv in SE Asia, Africa, and India. Part of those proceeds I will surely donate here. I will also make a modest contribution now as well. Thank you so much for all of your work. Stay healthy and together we will all see the end of this terrible plague.

God Bless, Steve

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Steve,

Thanks for taking the time to write in. Facing your fears and seeking help when in need are important lessons to learn and can help you to become an effective and compassionate physician. Experiencing illness from both sides of the examination table (patient vs. physician) is extremely enlightening.

Thank you for your donation and efforts to help HIV-positive kids. I've found activities like this to be an excellent way to keep one's own health challenges in proper perspective. Good luck, Steve.

Dr. Bob

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