|??? (ABOUT DR. BOB)
Apr 1, 2007
doc. i read a post that said u r HIV positive.. what were your symptoms and how long did they take to kick in after your exposure?? if you dont feel comfortable with answering i understand..
| Response from Dr. Frascino
I fell more than comfortable discussing my HIV status, exposure, symptoms, treatment, prognosis. In fact, I've done so many, many times in this forum and many other publications. Rather than reiterate the whole story once again, just have a look at the archives. I should also mention that this forum is supposed to be about you guys (and gals), not me! Besides, I don't want to become "the Department of Redundancy Department" (so to speak). So do check the archives plus I'll reprint a few random posts below as well. OK?
Question about Dr.Bob Jul 29, 2006
I'm just wondering what you're specific symptoms were when you were infected by the HIV bug..how quickly did they appear, what were they and WHY DID"NT PEP work for you?/
Response from Dr. Frascino
All of this information can be found in the archives, so I see little benefit in revisiting it in detail again. In brief, my ARS following my primary HIV infection from an occupational exposure (severe hollow-bore needle stick and laceration while treating a patient with advanced-stage AIDS) was typical. I developed most of the common ARS symptoms a number of weeks following the exposure and seroconverted shortly thereafter.
We had only a few antiretroviral drugs available in January 1991. (This was five years before the potent new drugs protease inhibitors, non-nucleosides, etc. came on the scene). We didn't know much about PEP nor was their much experience using it. The patient I was treating had advanced-stage AIDS and had been on AZT for quite some time. In retrospect, undoubtedly he was resistant to it, but we had no other options at the time, nor did we even have resistance tests to detect the presence of drug resistance.
I took AZT immediately after the exposure, but it was most likely not effective because the viral strain I acquired was already resistant to this drug. In the past 15 years, we've learned a considerable amount about how and when to use PEP so that it is most efficacious in preventing potential HIV infection. However, I should point out that even today, with over 20 anti-HIV drugs on the market, we still see PEP failures, despite PEP being appropriately proscribed and taken. It certainly helps reduce the chance of infection after significant HIV exposure, but it doesn't completely eliminate that possibility. You can read more about PEP and its limitations in the archives.
OK, enough about me. What about you?
Can I Ask A Personal Question? May 8, 2006
Dear Dr Bob,
You've answered a question for me before, but I'm curious about yourself if you don't mind. This is personal so please feel free not to answer.
You mentioned that you have been HIV+ for over a decade on a response I found. I'm assuming you were a MD before infection, so I'm really confused regarding how you could get infected. I mean, your an expert and surely you have always been really careful with safer sex because of that reason? Was your infection one of those horrible occasions when a condom broke, or are you just human and the passion overtook you and you weren't safe for once? Just really curious Bob; you seem like the one person who shouldn't be infected. I am sorry though, you're a superb person.
Response from Dr. Frascino
If you've been a regular visitor to this forum (or even a casual visitor), you have probably noted that I encourage questioners to check the archives, because extremely often the answer to their question(s) is already posted and just waiting for their double click. Believe it or not, that even applies to your question!
I've been positive since January 1991. Condom failure? Nope. Overtaken by passion? Nope. The virus found me while I was working. I sustained a hollow-bore needlestick and deep laceration while performing a medical procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS. Despite taking AZT (the only medication we had for PEP at the time), I seroconverted and became HIV positive. Other details about that event can be found in the archives. The reason I don't mention it often is because I truly believe it doesn't really matter how someone acquires the virus. None of us is any more guilty or innocent than anyone else who never wanted to be infected. So whether someone contracted the illness at work helping others, from a transfusion of tainted blood, from being a newborn infant of an HIV-positive mother or from an intimate experience when someone felt all they were sharing was love and passion, it really doesn't matter. The mere fact that you were curious as to how "someone like Dr. Bob" could possibly get infected demonstrates that many folks still harbor deep-seated feelings about HIV.
As for me, being the one person who shouldn't be infected, no I disagree. The virus is an equal-opportunity infecter! I'm neither more immune nor more susceptible than anyone else on the planet.
Stay well, James.
How did you get infected ?? Mar 22, 2006
Dr. Bob How did you get infected with HIV ...?? Thanks
Response from Dr. Frascino
The best answer to that question is simply "it doesn't matter!"
Would you think any differently of me if I contracted the virus from a transfusion of tainted blood versus having unprotected sex with someone I thought was monogamous and safe??? See my point??? I can assure you that despite the route of transmission, no one wanted to become infected with this scourge. No one person is more innocent or guilty than the other 40,000,000 of us cohabitating with HIV.
The story of my infection is plastered over the Internet and detailed in many places on this site, including my C.V. and biosketch. It's no secret that the virus found me while I was working. I sustained a severe hollow-bore needlestick and laceration while performing a medical procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS in January 1991. But in truth, I prefer my initial response. How did I get infected with HIV??? It really doesn't matter!
What Happened to you Dr. Bob Jan 8, 2006
Hi Doc, Please please do not get offended by this question...I have been perusing your responses to these questions for a long time now, and I am thoroughly stunned by you compassion, patience and understanding. You cause me to aspire to be a better person. But my question is, how on earth did you become infected? I wasn't aware of this fact until i read your reply to "suicidal with symptoms", and I've been heartbroken since. I pray as i write this that i do not come across as patronizing or pitiful, because you are doing more good with your life than any 100 people i know combined. But I just can't believe somoeone so attractive, smart and sophisticated has to suffer this disease. If you don't mind, can you share your story with us, as we all love you. I'm so impressed with your accomplishments and dedication, despite being positive, as I know if it were me I wouldn't be able to cope, i just don't think i'm strong enough. Please, if you want to tell me to mind my own beeswax and go "f" myself, feel free. Yours, A concerned friend
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello Concerned Friend,
No, I'm certainly not offended! Being "virally enhanced" has been such a part of my life for so long, I sometimes forget those who only more recently tuned into the Forum may not realize I'm HIV positive. My story was splashed across the news media TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, medical journals, etc. when I went public with my story a decade ago (1996). In reality I don't believe the manner in which I became infected should matter. I'm no more guilty or innocent than anyone else who never wanted to acquire this scourge! However, I do realize people are curious and that the "story" is out there so I'll briefly mention it to save you the trouble of Googling it. The virus found me while I was working. I sustained a hollow-bore needle puncture and laceration while performing a medical procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS. Despite yelling a few "expletives deleted" and taking AZT (the only thing we had for PEP in January of 1991) within moments of the incident, I seroconverted to HIV positive a few months later. You can search the archives and review additional information in my biography on this site or at The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation Web site (www.concertedeffort.org). I'll also post a recent question that I hope will address your question about being able to cope with adversity.
Your beeswax is always welcomed here.
Dr. Bob, What about you? Sep 6, 2004
Hello Dr. Bob,
I want to start by simply saying thank you for all of the work that you do each day on this site. You bring so much comfort and knowledge to people. You are a very compassionate and caring man. Perhaps it doesn't surprise you that we (your devote fans) are just as caring and concerned about you. Some of us can't help but wonder how you are doing with this disease. What is your status in terms of viral load and CD4? How do you find strength each day to go on? and what can we do for you to help you with this very trying time in your life?
You do not have to answer this if you do not want to. We just simply want to know about someone we love. And I mean that Dr. Bob.
Your Friend Always
Response from Dr. Frascino
What a pleasure to read a question that isn't self-centered and related to a lap dance from a bisexual cross-dressing transsexual Mormon midget! There were so many of those types of questions coming in from New York City last week ahhh, the fools and fanatics of the GOP Convention!!!
The best word for my viral load and CD4 count at the moment would be "stable." How am I doing with the disease? Well, according to the statistics at the time the virus found me in January of 1991, I shouldn't even be here, so I'd say I'm doing quite well. Sure, at times I feel as though I'm living on borrowed time. As I've said before, I really do believe we measure life in the wrong dimension. A life shouldn't be measured merely in length, but rather in depth. In many ways, perhaps because of HIV and the depth of my experiences, I've never felt more alive.
I won't say that cohabitating with HIV is easy. It's not. The drugs that keep me alive are science's classic double-edged sword causing not only great benefits but also some not-so-great side effects. At times I can be so exhausted I need to take a nap before going to bed. Once asleep, I can sometimes have my very own version of a "wet dream," a drenching night sweat that has, on occasion, made me wonder if I should wear a lifejacket and flippers to bed. At times I look at our linen closet and refrigerator, and see that it's now decorated in "nouveau pharmacy" style. Mack trucks deliver my medications in Godzilla-sized containers. Like so many other virally enhanced folks, I've had my fair share of HIV-related complications, but I see no point in dwelling on them. In life, as in playing cards, you can't choose the cards you are dealt, but you can definitely choose how to play these cares. Perhaps that's the real secret of living well on borrowed time. I also freely admit having Steve (Dr. Steve in The Body's Tratamientos Forum) to share life, love, sex, and other unscheduled events makes me the luckiest guy on the planet.
Here is my two-rule manifesto for living well with HIV: 1. "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." George Bernard Shaw
2. Always remember the wise advice of rule number 1. Thanks for your concern and friendship, William. I find that compassion and generosity, when freely given to those in need, is returned a thousand fold.
Stay well, William.
hollow-bore needle stick May 15, 2003
Hi Dr. Frascino
What routine procedure was it that led up to the needle stick exposure? Wait, you're a doctor, right? Oh, I get it, the nurse who usually does all the blood work was out sick that day, so you filled in. I was confused at first, because you're a doctor talking about doing routine blood work with a patient, when I'm used to seeing the nurse do that sort of thing. I guess that's the way they do it in San Fran, huh? It is just a little coincidental that you're one of the only Doctors on here who is gay, and you happen to have HIV too. The other Doctors on here have much better luck than you I guess. Well, even though I find your story a bit far-fetched, I still think you do a great thing helping all these people. We look up to you like a hero - and that's the damn truth.
Response from Dr. Frascino
My my my you have a suspicious mind. You are correct that I sustained my hollow bore needle stick and laceration while doing a "routine medical procedure". However that procedure was not "drawing blood"! I was un-roofing a cluster of unusual blisters from the back of a patients knee to culture the fluid inside when the patient inadvertently jerked causing the large bore needle I was using to jab and wound him as well as become impaled in the palm of my gloved hand. It all happened very quickly. I hope that is graphic enough for you. Yes, Im gay and happen to have acquired HIV occupationally but as I have said a thousand times before --- I am no more innocent or guilty than anyone with this virus. None of us wanted this disease. So whether it was a blood transfusion, a broken condom, or an episode of love making please dont try to make some of us innocent victims and others deserving of our fate. I stand with the entire HIV infected community as one. The sooner we can get beyond trying to place blame, the sooner we can focus on fighting the real enemy --- HIV!
Are the other doctors on this site luckier than me? Oh, I doubt it. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world. Like Babs says "People who need people and Lovers are very special people --- their the luckiest people in the world!"
Thanks for your comments TBT. Im neither a hero nor a victim. Im just a guy with HIV trying to do what he can. And thats the "damn truth"
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