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What can I do to help?
Apr 25, 2010

I lost a friend who passed away from AIDS. As someone who's read your forums, and tried to educate myself beyond the crap and limited information public schools provide, I really want to do more.

Now I know I can volunteer, and donate what little money I have, but what else can I do? This might seem like a duh question, and I'm in control of whatever I want to do, but it seems like I can do more.

I think education about this disease is severely lacking. Some of the questions you get are mind-boggling! It's almost to the point where people think you can becoming infected just by looking at an HIV infected individual.

You helped me with a scare a few years ago. I came to this site, and you eased my mind. My equipment failure (broken condom) with the girl I was with sent me in to a panic-crazed haze. And while it was great to test negative after the allotted time, losing a friend to the disease has brought me to my knees. I'm so heartbroken.

He could possibly still be with us. The thing I'm so frustrated with is the fact that he was a late tester. Had he known earlier, treatment could have kept him with us longer.

I know people make mistakes, and nobody wants this disease. I'm angry at the people who know they are infected and aren't honest or careful with their partner. Yes the recipient needs to be responsible, but when someone has more information on what could possibly happen, utilize it!

I'm looking to pound this information into the entire public. As long as this disease has been around, I'm flabbergasted at how little people know about it and how irresponsible people are. If my actions could curb 20% of this plague I'd feel good.

Where can I go and what can I do?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's recent passing. It's yet another sad testimonial to the consequences of late testing leading to late diagnosis.

As for what you can do to help, you essentially answered your own question. Yes, there is the obvious volunteer work and monetary donation. But as you state: "I think education about this disease is severely lacking." You also report you were helped by the information in this forum a few years ago when you had an HIV scare. Consequently what you can do is "pay it forward." That means take what you've learned here and from your personal experience and the tragic story of your deceased friend and spread that information to your contacts -- friends, family, colleagues, church group, PTA, book club, bowling league, Tupperware party, whatever. Just get the conversation going and disseminate the HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and testing message. Dispel myth, misinformation and stigma. If we all just did our part "paying it forward" in our own way and by whatever means we have at our disposal, we could stop HIV cold in its tracks. HIV/AIDS remains 100% terminal but out's also 100% preventable! Welcome to the fight against the pandemic.

Dr. Bob



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