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what didn't you expect?
Jun 26, 2006

Dr. Bob,

Fifteen years ago when you got infected what things didn't you anticipate would be happening today in 2006?

My company wants to donate some stuff to your Concerted effort auction to help raise money for HIV/AIDS. How do we do that?

I liked the article about you in the paper, describing you as the Robin Hood of HIV/AIDS!!!

Spike

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

What things didn't I anticipate 15 years ago? Gosh, the complete list would be impressively long and would, of course, begin with the Bush presidencies! If I limited the list to just a few HIV/AIDS-associated things, it would include:

1. Being alive. In 1991 when the virus found me, everyone with HIV/AIDS expected the virus would take our lives within a few years. Ten years into the epidemic, the best we could do is hope against hope while we prepared to die. Despite the miraculous effect of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), which did not become available until 1996, sometimes even today I feel I am living on borrowed time.

2. Billions of dollars being spent on Iraq instead of AIDS. Fifteen years ago, when those of us with HIV/AIDS were preparing to die, we all assumed the AIDS crisis would continue to evolve exponentially and that the rapidly increasingly voices demanding care and support would grow louder and ever more persuasive and that stigma and ignorance would certainly be replaced by scientific reason and compassionate policies. Fifteen years ago, I would have never anticipated that today, 25 years into the epidemic and with more than 25,000,000 lives snuffed out by the virus and 40,000,000 infected, the incompetent Bush/Cheney team would be wasting billions of dollars on a trumped up war rather than fighting the real terror the global terror of the AIDS pandemic.

3. Fifteen years ago I would never have guessed that the mere threat of SARS or bird flu would set off coast-to-coast public panic -- and prompt the federal government to draw up contingency plans and stockpile medications while the national response to AIDS continues to be one of apathy and indifference. Not only would I not have anticipated this 15 years ago, but I still cannot explain it today.

This is only a very partial list, but rather than ruminate on the past or what could or should have been, I need to focus on today's realities and a plan for tomorrow.

Regarding your company's generous offer to make a donation of an auction item to our next Concerted Effort benefit event, please accept our heartfelt thanks! Just call the foundation's office at 650-917-1357 and give us the details of the item and we'll do the rest!

Yes, many folks have seen that Robin Hood article. Some of the volunteers at The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation now want to wear green spandex tights and be referred to as the Merry Men! They also plan to redecorate my office to look like Sherwood Forest!

Stay well, Spike. Hey, with a name like Spike, would you have any interest in joining the Merry Men? We'll provide the green tights!

Dr. Bob



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