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Positive People and STDs
Nov 17, 2005

Hello I am a Health Educator at a clinic where I work on a prevention with positives project, I am also an active(ist) participant in the global struggle against HIV/AIDS. I want to give a little plug to the Campaign to End AIDS, www.c2ea.org , who recently brought hundreds of Positive People and those who care for them to DC to give the Congress a little talking to about Ryan White, Medicaid, The Global Fund and other important pieces of legislation concerning Global Health Security. I also wanted to run a little observation by you, have you noticed that for all the Bible-totingness of the Rapture Right they are more like the Ammonites eagerly sacrificing their own and others' children at the alter Moloch who in modern times takes the form of nonscience anti-prevention ideology than the Christ who healed the sick and cared for the down-trodden. I am going to say it Jesus was certainly a liberal, he might have even been a socialist, gosh read the book of Acts. And Jesus would definitely not have put confusing labels on condoms while limiting actual information about them therefore ensuring that HIV and STD infection rates will go up. Okay, okay I guess I can't speak for what Jesus would or would not do, but I think the Bible implies that Jesus had a healthy regard for honesty and truthfulness. So lets do it, lets tell the children the truth, "protect yourselves learn the ABCs, Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms, ABC". Concerning a prevention question, I tell all of my Clients that Positive People need to be even more careful about exposing themselves to other STDs since co-infection with HIV seems to aggravate the symptoms of these infections so much. I also advise them that any change in their body, whether it is their immune system having to fight off another infection or deal with the presence of a new treatment, even antibiotics, could be detrimental to their current treatment regiment. Okay sorry that wasn't a question my question is: is it known why the presence of HIV infection, even when the immune system is healthy, seems to aggravate other infections? And what is an easy way to explain this to people. You are an invaluable source of real information and science in a medium rife with misinformation and vagaries. I consider you to be among the firmament of my heroes, the brave men and women who will be remembered as those who collectively stood before the tank of HIV and backed it down with nothing more than passion and conviction (modern medical science doesn't hurt either). Keep up the noble and righteous work that you are doing. I hate that I feel like I am plugging products but I feel that these books inspire hope and sometimes an anger that leads to action. Anybody who likes Dr. Bob would love Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder it is a biography of Paul Farmer, also Justice Edwin Cameron's A Witness to AIDS is stunning in its clear sightedness and intensity and one last one to read is Stephen Lewis's A Race Against Time. I hope I am not overstepping my boundaries here by recommending books but if I am you can just not publish this letter. Unless I am mistaken Dr. Bob you have not written or had someone write a book telling your story. Jeez you would think that between being a bon vivant, caring brother, loving partner, a font of inspirational wisdom and healing for thousands, a classical pianist, the head of a foundation that directly helps others and a witty, cheeky, bastard you would have more than enough time to write a book to inspire and energize even more people. Life remembers the truly good people and they are blessed. Keeping creating hope in the world.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Sure, I'd be happy to plug the Campaign to End AIDS and the other points in your message as well. I'm in the process of reading Edwin Cameron's Witness to AIDS. I saw him interviewed on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer recently and immediately bought his book. As for writing a book myself, well, I have toyed with that idea, but so far it hasn't materialized. However, it's not beyond the realm of possibilities! I have spent some time composing music related to my experiences, but that is much less accessible than a book.

Regarding your question, HIV, even early HIV disease, directly involves the immune system. The CD4 cells have often been called the "conductor of the immunological orchestra." Consequently, even though immune deterioration may be relatively slow as HIV infects and eventually destroys CD4 cells, the immune response can be altered even early on in HIV disease. An altered immune system is often less capable of handling other concurrent challenges. Hope that answers your questions.

Stay well. Your activism is appreciated.

Dr. Bob



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