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re: Denver Principles
Jul 4, 2009

Victim is a very innappropriate term. My three type H girlfriends are close to the most focused, successful people I know. One is a medical sales person and a grandmother, one is a globe trotting archeologist, and one is a disability advocate, a landlady, runs her own business, and has her own forum in the local news paper. Victims? Not hardly.

Dr. Bob here is a victim (of his own success). How else can one explain his answering the same question over and over and over just because his personal attention is so valued?

Advocating, I've learned not to use negatives like "victim." Honestly, I don't like "living with" either. That implies tolerance. As an MD, and/or a "PWA," would you accept a new blood type notation, eg HA- compaired to just A-? One hopes that with a better understanding of the body's error detection/correction, someday HIV will be just another blood type (type H). Why slay the dragon if all it does is blow smoke? That may just be a wishful thought, but in less pessimistic language that's pronounced "goal." Speaking of wishful thoughts, two of the above mensioned girlfriends are also latex intolerant. Grrr...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I agree with you regarding the word "victim." Personally, I prefer "virally enhanced" or "positively charged!"

Regarding your two positively charged gal pals with latex intolerance, have them try polyurethane condoms. They work just as well and they contain no latex!

Ciao! Happy 4th.

Dr. Bob

Saw your foundation supported the "Denver Principles" Jul 2, 2009

Hey Dr. Bob,

Saw a publication that listed The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundtion as a supporter of the "Denver Principles". What are they? Thanks, Madame X

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Madame X,

Yes, The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation as listed in POZ magazine as an organization that supports the Denver Principles. I'll reprint below a small section from the article that discusses and reiterates these principles. For additional information you can read the entire article in POZ magazine.

Dr. Bob

The Denver Principles

The pioneering activists who created The Denver PrinciplesRichard Berkowitz, Bill Burke, Michael Callen, Bobbi Campbell, Bob Cecchi, Artie Felson, Phil Lanzarratta, Tom Nasrallah, Bobby Reynolds, Mathew Sarner, Gar Traynor, Dan Turner, Elbert (last name unknown) of Kansas City and an individual whose name is unknown, from Denver-rejected the label of "victim" for people with HIV because it implied passivity and defeat. They noted that we are only occasionally "patients"stating that our correct moniker be "people with AIDS." Later, this was amended to "people living with HIV/AIDS" using the acronym PLWHA.

The Denver Principles asserted the right of people with HIV/AIDS to participate in all forums about HIV, on the boards of provider and other organizations and in the development of policies and programs that would directly, and indirectly, affect our lives. The Denver Principles empowered the HIV community to create an extraordinary peer-to-peer service delivery system, implement highly successful community-based HIV prevention strategies and successfully combat stigma. In the years since, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organizations have used The Denver Principles as a model for service delivery to disenfranchised communities

The authors of The Denver Principles wrote:

We condemn attempts to label us as "victims," a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally "patients," a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are "People With AIDS."

The Denver Principles made specific recommendations for people living with HIV. Specifically, it suggested that we: 1. Form caucuses to choose our own representatives, to deal with the media, to choose our own agenda and to plan our own strategies. 2. Be involved at every level of decision-making and specifically serve on the boards of directors of provider organizations. 3. Be included in all AIDS forums with equal credibility as other participants, to share our own experiences and knowledge. 4. Substitute low-risk sexual behaviors for those which could endanger themselves or their partners; we feel that people with AIDS have an ethical responsibility to inform their potential partners of their health status.

In addition, it made recommendations for health care professionals, including that they: 1. Come out, especially to their patients who have AIDS. 2. Always clearly identify and discuss the theory they favor as to the cause of AIDS, since this bias affects the treatments and advice they give. 3. Get in touch with their feelings (e.g., fears, anxieties, hopes, etc.) about AIDS and not simply deal with AIDS intellectually. 4. Take a thorough personal inventory and identify and examine their own agendas around AIDS. 5. Treat people with AIDS as a whole people, and address psychological issues as well as biophysical ones. 6. Address the question of sexuality in people with AIDS specifically, sensitively and with information about gay male sexuality in general, and the sexuality of people with AIDS in particular.

The Denver Principles also made some suggestions for the general public. They were to: 1. [Offer] support and membership in our struggle against those who would fire us from our jobs, evict us from our homes, refuse to touch us, or separate us from our loved ones, our community or our peers, since available evidence does not support the view that AIDS can be spread by casual, social contact. 2. Not scapegoat people with AIDS, blame us for the epidemic or generalize about our lifestyles.

And, finally, The Denver Principles laid out the right of people with HIV/AIDS: 1. To live as full and satisfying sexual and emotional lives as anyone else. 2. To receive quality medical treatment and quality social service provision without discrimination of any form, including sexual orientation, gender, diagnosis, economic status or race. 3. To obtain full explanations of all medical procedures and risks, to choose or refuse their treatment modalities, to refuse to participate in research without jeopardizing their treatment and to make informed decisions about their lives. 4. To ensure privacy and confidentiality of medical records, to receive human respect and the right to choose who their significant others are. 5. To dieand to LIVEin dignity.

While some of the specific language in The Denver Principles may feel outdated or incomplete today, the essence of self-empowerment, our right to participate in the decision-making processes that affect our lives and our right to enjoy the same full, long life as anyone with any other health condition are as relevant today as when the words were first written.



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