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re: why is it "W"s fault
Apr 6, 2007

Dr. Bob, thank you for you response .. predictable as it was. I find this to be a liberal response rather than an answer .. a friend of my son, who watched my son die, has recently been diagnosed HIV+ .. this man should have known safe sex practices .. money is not an issue with him so free condoms would not be necessary (or free needles, as the case may be, though I doubt it in his case). It is NOT "W"s fault this man is HIV+, nor is/was it Reagan's .. personal responsibility is the culprit with him and probably the majority of other "positives" . As for the medications that WHO has approved but our FDA hasn't .. I can see the lawsuits flowing if we allow drugs in that haven't been "properly" tested. We have a group of people (HIV+) that want to think of themselves as victims anyway, I can imagine how they would hate the government (that they already hate) if they got bad meds. I strongly think that we must stress personal responsibility, not just with not getting infected but with having medical insurance and whatever other actions need to be taken to care for ourselves. My son worked long past the time he had the energy to do so just to have medical insurance .. he died in '92. We must ALL take responsibility for ourselves and quit looking to government for all of the answers. By the way, I am a past Board Chair for AIDS Services of Dallas, which is a nationally recognized AIDS service provider. They do a lot of their "providing" by way of charitable gifts and working with area churches. Yes, they do get government grants too. I say that only to let you know that I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. Thanks, Mary

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mary,

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree! Although I believe the biggest difference in our views is that you are looking at HIV from a local Dallas perspective rather than as a dynamic and volatile global pandemic. The views are remarkably different! Personal responsibility isn't the problem for faithful sub-Saharan married women who contract the virus from their husbands! Lawsuits are not the issue when it comes to WHO-approved HIV medications. Their standards are equal to our FDA's. The problem is the pharmaceutical industry lobby and patents. This is unconscionable when there are millions of HIVers without access to these life-sustaining medications. Finally, how could you think having your son work "long past the time he had the energy to do so just to have medical insurance" is a reasonable thing to do? We have 46,600,000 Americans without health care insurance in this country, the wealthiest nation in the world. This is not an issue of personal responsibility, but rather of failure of the government to provide the basic services that are guaranteed in every other civilized nation on the planet.

You may blame the youngster who recently seroconverted for lack of personal responsibility, but I do not believe that is the full story. The United States has had the same rate of new HIV infections every year for over a decade 40,000 new infections per year. This does not reflect an epidemic lack of personal responsibility, but rather it reflects what a shameful job we are doing educating our young adults about HIV prevention. Dubya insists on throwing boatloads of money into abstinence-only sex education programs, which have proven to be ineffective. They don't produce more rosy-cheeked virgins, but rather these programs are resulting in higher rates of STDs, including HIV, and unwanted pregnancies, because our sexually active young adults are completely unaware how to protect themselves. All you have to do is take a read through the archives of this forum to get a glimpse of the scope of this problem.

Mary, I don't think you just fell of a turnip truck, but I do think your views of the pandemic are nave. I urge you to take another look and you'll see that my "liberal response" was indeed an answer.

Dr. Bob

why is it "W"s fault? Apr 5, 2007

since HIV/AIDS has been around for 25 years (my son was an early casualty) WHY blame the President .. puleeze .. that's as bad as blaming it all on Reagan .. this is NOT a political forum .. give it a break !

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Why is Dubya at fault for hampering efforts to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS???? Well, let me give you some examples:

1. Programs to prevent the spread of HIV are unquestionably a crucial component of the long-term fight. Yet, Dubya (and the last Republican Congress) specified that only 20% of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) could be spent on prevention. Even more egregious is the restriction that one third of that money had to be used to promote abstinence until marriage!!!! Consequently, more money has been spent in that area than on any other prevention activities, including the distribution of condoms and blocking mother-to-child transmission!!!! This is not only unscientific, it's shamefully immoral!

2. Another anti-science restriction forbids the use of taxpayer money to provide clean needles to injecting drug users.

3. Yet another restriction requires that all antiretroviral medications be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. This blocks the use of more inexpensive generic antiretrovirals, even those approved by the World Health Organization!

Despite the above, your comment about Reagan is a good one. The Centers for Disease Control reported the first case of AIDS in June 1981 during Reagan's Presidency. However, he blatantly ignored the looming crisis, preferring to act like an ostrich with his head stuck in the sand and did not even publicly utter the word AIDS until September 1985! Had he shown some degree of compassion or leadership, perhaps your son and so many other sons, daughters, husbands, wives and lovers would not be "casualties!"

So I agree with you. We shouldn't just blame Dubya. I stand corrected. Reagan must share the infamy!

Dr. Bob



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