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Like the older brother I never had.

Sep 30, 2005

Dr. Bob,

You are one of the coolest people. I can tell that without even having met you. I am just a young guy, discovering this world, and myself in it. I live in one of those all-American Midwest towns. Prejudice is so strong here and people just dont understand. They all think that if you feel a certain way you can just choose to feel differently, that you have some sort of active control over how you have been made. I have a friend who is married and finally came out. They just wanted to send him to some psych, reprogramming, bulls*#t therapy. They just dont get that they are killing people so softly, whether by misinformation such that they do something stupid or by forcing them to smother who they are. Sometimes I want to yell Its not wrong!! Any more than freckles, or eye color, or anything! But it would be like talking to a fish, only concerned with whether or not you are disturbing their water. So I have kept on going like Bruce Wayne, normal all-American boy by day but someone else underneath the mask. I know that someday I will be able to face the bats but I wish the world was such that the bats did not exist.

But that is the greatest things about your site. I have learned so much. Not just about HIV but that life is going to be ok. I have seen that the gay world is not the scary place that the Judeo-Christian theocracy (that is so strong in these towns) forces down your mind. I feel a bit more empowered, by your confidence.

It gave me the courage to explore a bit more. I finally checked out some personal sites. (easier than face to face). First I must say there are some very interesting people out there. But then I met this guy online who was also feeling like me. We talk a while about our fears and how we wanted to move at our own speed. Eventually we gained enough courage to meet. He was great and the chance to talk to someone and feel like I was understood was like the pearl of great price, that you would have given anything to have. We were so scared to open up but as we did our feelings were so strong. One thing led to another and lets just say oppression became passion, and passion was beautiful. Do you remember that time too? I dont think I will forget it.

But then after he left, My mind locked down again. I was so scared. I felt so vulnerable. I hate that all of those prejudices forced into me and all the misconceptions, even about HIV, had to creep in like pointed shadows and trouble my great day. But once again, I just came to your site and even though none of the topics really applied the message of It is going to be alright, my friend, came shining through.

So I do have some questions,

Help my worry. He said he had only a one very lame, very nervous experience were he just received oral (which I believe just based on the fact he was as nervous as I was). We just tried oral (no ejaculate, though I must say there was obviously precum) and touching, which was more, really, than we had ever done. Tell me once again not to worry, that as far as HIV goes I will be ok.

Second, who can I and my new friend turn to for advice, not just about HIV (the big albatross in the kitchen) but about everything, as we discover this world? We are the blind leading the blind. I know we need counseling but we dont want to talk to someone who does not personally understand. Is there someone we can call, and share these things with (like a hotline, or some organization)? (Believe me there is nothing in this town)

Sorry to take up so much space I am sure your bandwidth is overloaded. But I thank you once again. And I, we, will keep reading your site. It makes more of a difference than you could ever know. I am sure that we are not alone. You are a beautiful person, dont let anyone say otherwise.

Sincerely, Mark

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Mark,

Stories like yours break my heart and give me strength all at the same time. You are absolutely correct: being gay is not wrong! And the gay world is not the scary place the rightwing zealots preach about so vehemently. That so many guys like you continue to be subjected to such fear mongering and hate is what saddens me immensely. However, just as it has throughout history, love and human nature will eventually win out. True passion is indeed beautiful. (Not only do I remember it, I still live it.) I'm delighted that Batman has apparently found a Robin, even if they have to keep their true identities secret for now. So, on to your questions:

1. You want me to tell you once again not to worry, that as far as HIV goes you'll be O.K.? O.K.! Don't worry. As far as HIV goes you'll be fine, O.K.?

2. I don't know where you are writing from (and it doesn't sound like a place I would want to visit), so I can't give you a specific referral for a counselor. I would suggest you check with the AIDS service organizations in the nearest town of a more reasonable size. They should have a referral list of gay (or at least gay-sensitive and welcoming therapists). For HIV medical questions, check the American Academy of HIV Medicine's Web site at They have a listing of HIV specialists by location. You just might be surprised to fine one nearby. This guy (or gal) may also be a resource for hooking you up with a competent and compassionate therapist.

For now, Mark, I hope you and Robin slay "the big albatross in kitchen" and get back to being a passionate dynamic duo.

I'll be your older brother anytime you need me.

Dr. Bob

P.S. You and Robin look hot in those spandex/stretch Lycra super-hero outfits! Love the capes!

PEP and viral load

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