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What is the best way to educate yourself about HIV prevention

Nov 2, 2010

Dear Dr Frascino, Yesterday before we went trick or treating my 12 year old son revealed to me that he is Gay. I had always had my suspicions but I wasn't expecting him to come out so soon. I thought I would have an easier time with it but the truth is I haven't been able to stop crying. Not because I have a problem with him being gay but because it seems so dangerous to be gay. I know it's becoming more acceptable to society but there are still a lot of haters out there, the laws regarding marriage and military service are still unjust, and HIV is still an epidemic among gay men. My son is the best person I've ever known, he is sweet, honest, gentle, generous, and loving--he's definitely a better person than I am. I can honestly say he is the one that has taught me what the true meaning of love is. I've read many of your posts over the years because of my own phobia of HIV. I was once one of those worried wells that you often talk about so I am somewhat educated about HIV and prevention. I'm wondering if there is a book or some other resource that you recommend that I can share with him. He's not having physical relations now but that will happen someday and I want him to be educated and safe. I have often admired your positive attitude towards life, especially considering your HIV status. You were one of the first people I thought of when my son shared his news. Its men like you that give me hope that my son can live a long, healthy, and happy life as a gay man. If I've said anything offensive please forgive me. I don't know many gay people and I'm not the brightest man you will ever meet.

God bless you Doctor,

Proud Dad in Phoenix

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Proud Dad in Phoenix,

Sexual orientation is not a choice, as I'm sure you realize. Certainly most parents would prefer their kids were straight for a variety of reasons -- some of which you mentioned. Yes, there are still a lot of haters out there and the laws regarding marriage and military service are discriminatory, unjust and senseless. And yes, HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in the gay male community. All of these things are true, and if you want to help your son and many other kids like him, you'll do everything in your power to fight against homophobia, myth, misunderstanding and discriminatory laws and policies. Regarding HIV, you should advocate for science-based HIV awareness and prevention education in our schools. As for a book, try "100 Questions & Answers about HIV and AIDS" by Joel Gallant, M.D. It's readable and not highly complex.

Finally, I do want to end on a positive note. Despite some challenges it is entirely possible to live a long, happy, successful, romance-filled and extremely happy life as a gay man. I wish all gay kids had dads like you.

Dr. Bob

Fresh Blood - I am so scared and Worried
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