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HIV and Massage
Jul 20, 2005

I am HIV-positive and recently went to a massage school clinic. After disclosing my status on their medical form, the staff began acting rather peculiar. Then, when my massage began, I noticed that the practioner was wearing latex gloves. I was mortified! The way she massaged me seemed timid, I felt embarassed...diseased! I finally left completely offended. Is this practice normal for the massage therapy community? What if I hadn't disclosed my HIV status? Would she have still used gloves? I've never felt so humiliated in all my life! This is the first time I've ever had a massage with latex gloves. And it is also the first time I've had a massage since my diagnosis two years ago. Is this expected?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You ask, "Is this to be expected?" If by "this" you mean totally unreasonable, completely unjustifiable, scientifically unsound attitudes toward HIV disease, then unfortunately yes, it's still quite common. Should it happen? No, it should not. However, many HIV/AIDS education/prevention programs in the U.S. have been eviscerated, thanks to Dubya and his cronies. I wonder if anyone at the "massage school clinic" realizes that 25% of the over one million HIV-positive Americans have absolutely no idea they are infected. You should consider filing a complaint with the school. I, for one, would refuse a latexed rubdown; unless, of course, that's what I ordered!

Don't be embarrassed. But before getting "bare-assed" for your next rub-a-dub-dub, do find a more reasonable masseur. You might even inquire about the "happy ending" option.

Dr. Bob



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