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re: please please please (DR BOB'S OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE)
Dec 12, 2007

ISN'T THIS HOW YOU SUPPOSEDLY BECAME HIV POSITIVE, DR. BOB?

Dec 4, 2007 Dr. Bob!! Can you please tell me about the possibilities of getting HIV by sharing a razor?? Thank you so much!! You are wonderful!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Although we certainly do not recommend sharing razors (or toothbrushes) with HIVers, the actual HIV-transmission risk from these activities would be remarkably low. HIV does not survive very long outside the body. For transmission to occur via razor, an HIV-poz person would need to cut himself and get an adequate amount of fresh blood on the blade, which would have to almost immediately cut into an HIV neggie, thereby transferring the virus-infected fresh blood into fresh non-infected blood through a fresh open wound. For obvious reasons the chance of this actually occurring is remote at best.

You're welcome so much.

Dr. Bob

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Nope. I did not contract HIV from a razor! Whatever gave you that idea? See below. Also you can read more about my occupational exposure in the archives and on related links.

Dr. Bob

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.

TBT

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey TBT,

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"

Dr. Bob

Why PEP could not save you Dr Bob Mar 16, 2004

I am very sorrow to learn that you, a good doctor who give many generous supports to fight HIV, hot seroconverted in an accident.

But why PEP could not save you?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

My hollow-bore needlestick and laceration occurred in January 1991. We didn't know too much about PEP way back then. I did take AZT immediately after the incident, but since the patient I was performing the procedure on was in the advanced-stages of the disease and had taken AZT himself for quite some time, there was probably a good chance his strain of virus was resistant to that drug.

Please don't feel bad about my situation. My life has been and continues to be a great joy. If I die tomorrow, I'll be able to say I've had a wonderful life while here on earth. If I don't die tomorrow, there are still many things on my "to do" list to experience, accomplish, and enjoy. I consider myself one very lucky guy.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

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.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

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

William

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi William,

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.

Your friend,

Dr. Bob

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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