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How do you do it?
Jun 13, 2006

Dr Bob, There's no need to tell you how much we all love you, I'm sure by the truckload of emails you recieve you know "inspiring" you are to all of us. You are always giving advice, but my question is....how "did" and how "do" you cope with your diagnosis and co-exsisting with hiv? You must have an incredible mind set of positivity, or some other secrets we arent aware of, as you are always sooo seemingly happy and strong in your life? Do you put things down to the knowledge you have being a doctor? Love, family and freinds? Large support groups (like us who adore you)? We would love to know the many secrets you possess to coping with hiv so incredibly well. There are a lot of us trying to find a way to live with this "frightening" illness. Also, do you have a lot of faith and hope in how the meds will be over the next 5 - 10 years? do you believe we will come to live with this as those do with diabetes - a more "guaranteed long life with less illness and infection"? I'm sure these are questions every reader on here wants to hear from you.

Thanks Dr Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"An incredible mind set of positivity . . . ???" Hmmm . . . well, I will say I'm one of the most optimistic (and realistic) people on the planet and very "positive about being positive."

Being an HIV specialist does help me understand the illness, but "love, family and friends" help me survive and thrive with it.

As for secrets that help me cope with the challenges of being "virally enhanced," I have always found that helping others who are in need is not only rewarding beyond belief, it's also the best way to keep my personal challenges in their proper perspective. Adaptability is also important. Life, love, sex, illness and our eventual transition to whatever is next are all a series of unscheduled events! In life, as in cards, we can't choose the hand we are dealt, but we can choose how to play those cards! It seems to me a truly content person is one who can enjoy the scenery, even when forced to take an unanticipated detour! Even with HIV, I find life is full of passion, meaning and commitment. If I were to die today, I'd say I had one hell of a good ride. If I don't die today, I have an unlimited list of things to experience and accomplish that I look forward to with great anticipation.

George Bernard Shaw captured my sentiments exactly when he wrote:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy . . . . Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

Am I optimistic about treatment options over the next 5-10 years? Absolutely. What saddens me is that only 10% of those in need are even getting the treatments we have available today. It is harder to be as optimistic about their future.

Do I believe HIV will become another diabetes? No, I do not. This has nothing to do with "treatability" or becoming a "chronic manageable disease," but rather with the fact that HIV/AIDS, for all the wrong reasons, has been stigmatized beyond belief. I view the challenges of HIV to be far greater than merely coexisting with the virus. I welcome everyone to join me in confronting these daunting issues. Perhaps that's the real secret of coping with any personal crisis looking beyond our personal self interest in an effort to improve the common good.

Stay well. Don't be frightened. Get involved.

Dr. Bob



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