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Ten Commandments for better HIV education/prevention Thx Dr. Bob
Mar 7, 2005

Dear Dr. Bob,

My false fears of a possible HIV infection (confirmed by neg. test out to 6 months)led me to a better education on HIV. I transfomed my panick and fear into education and composed the follwing 10 commandments or steps (of course most of the material I collected from your answers, so do not sue me on Copyrights, he he.) Here are they:

The Decalogue (Ten Commandments) for a better education/prevention of HIV: 1)HIV/AIDS do really exist. Don't be in denial. 2)HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a very dangerous/deadly virus for your health, so try hard not to expose yourself to it. 3)Dont tell yourself that you are immune to it. Chances are no one is! And though it is hard to catch, don't rely on statistics, as you never know when you might catch it if you expose yourself to it. 4)Don't console yourself saying: "So what? Even if I catch it, I will take medication for it." HIV vaccine and/or cure will probably not exist for many, many years, and current medication to battle the virus require regorous regime and have many strong and unpleasant side affects, but do not cure HIV or totally eliminate it from body. 5)Abstain from sex or be in a monogamous relationship (that is given that you know for sure your partner's HIV status.) If you can't, always use protection, condom, shield, etc. Whatever you call it, use it, otherwise call it a night! Also try not to share needles with others. 6)Do not trust anyone who tells you they are HIV-negative, especially when you have just met them. Do not trust also a recent test of theirs, as tests are accurate only 3 months or more after exposure and you don't know for sure whether they have had a recent exposure or not. 7)Do not shun or be afraid of people who are infected with HIV. They are your brothers and sisters. Rather you should love them, support them in their ordeal, and trust the fact that they will not infect you through everyday casual contact. People infected with HIV are battling a deadly virus on a daily basis, so embrace them and do not make the fight any harder for them than it already is. 8)If your recent exposure to HIV was non-existent, HIV antibody test is not warranted. However, for minimal exposure, take a single FDA-approved HIV antibody test (ELISA, EIA, etc.) at three months or more post exposure. If you still do not trust results (although you should) or had had a significant HIV exposure, retest at six months just to make sure or to calm your fears and anxiety. Do not waste your blood, time, and money on PCR DNA, p24, etc. tests, rather use the money you would spend on such unnecessary tests to donate to charities (like Dr. Frascino's AIDS foundation perhaps?) 9)Do not diagnose yourself. Symptoms are very unreliable and can be caused by many diseases. Symptoms do not equal HIV. Rather, calm your fears (see a mental health professional if you cannot overcome irrational fears) and wait for the three-month mark and take the HIV antibody test. This test is considered conclusive only three or more months (window period) after exposure. 10)HIV-2 is a virus that is geographically linked to infections in West Africa. If you live in the USA, Europe, and need testing, HIV-2 antibody test is probably not warranted, unless you have a valid reason to suspect you might have been exposed to it (e.g. if you are native of West Africa, had sex or shared needles with someone who did the same with a West African, etc.)

P.S. I especially love commandment number 7. I put it on number 7, because this is a number equivalent to perfection in the Bible.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Congratulations on your negative tests and conquering your irrational fears!

Thanks also for your rendition of the "Top Ten" list for HIV education/prevention. I might quibble with some of the phraseology, such as "try not" to share needles (that should be "do not"), but all in all you seem to have grasped the principles!

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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