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TheBodyAdministrator
Grand Master

Reged: 12/23/99
Posts: 163
Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It?
      #234324 - 12/10/07 03:26 PM

We're reposting this recent exchange between an anonymous person and Dr. Bob Frascino, one of the doctors at The Body's "Ask the Experts" Forums. It raises some interesting -- and disturbing -- questions about the persistence of HIV and stigma in the United States. What's your opinion?

Q: Do all HIVers deserve care?
Dec 9, 2007

Going by the statistical estimates on risks, it seems that one has to be extremely (and repeatedly) stupid to contract HIV. This means, most HIV +ve patients have deliberately, willfully, knowingly had the virus self-inflicted. Do they really deserve any care or compassion?

I don't mean to underrate HIV disease. A disease is a disease and it always feels bad if someone is suffering from such a horrible one. But if it is so suicidal (like getting doused in fuel, setting themselves to fire and crying for "HELP") do they deserve care?

Note that I have entirely different feelings for folks like you who have acquired it through accident, while performing an extremely compassionate and admirable job. Also for those little kids and Moms (infected by husbands) who are innocent and do not deserve the disease AT ALL.

I think 99% of your Foundation's funds should be directed to the unfortunate and innocent, and not the majority who got it self-inflicted.

Just my thoughts. Please, please don't take this as rude. I am just so frustrated that innocent HIV acquirers who deserve all the care are not getting it because of the stupid self-inflictors.

Respectfully, Ricky

------------

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Ricky,

I couldn't disagree with you more! No one deserves to be HIV infected and there are no innocent victims. HIV is a viral illness, not a tool of self destruction. I have seen thousands of folks with HIV/AIDS over the past quarter century and I can assure you none not a single one wanted to be infected. Yes, some have placed themselves at risk for a whole variety of reasons, but none wanted to be infected.

Ricky, have you ever driven even one mile per hour over the speed limit? Have you ever driven without your seatbelt buckled? If you were to be injured in a car crash should you be turned away at the emergency room door? Have you ever eaten a Krispy Kreme donut? Are you more than a pound over your ideal body weight? Have you ever puffed on a cigarette or drank too much alcohol? If you ever have a heart attack or stroke, should you be turned away for medical care because of your "suicidal" behavior? By your logic anyone who is obese is not worthy of medical care because they did it to themselves. Are they too "self-inflictors"?

Ricky, sex is a powerful driving force and people do have lapses in judgment surrounding sexual situations for a whole host of reasons. Have you always, always, always been completely 100% safe? Think of it this way Ricky: half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. are in young adults aged 13-24. Young people who think they are in love (and not really at risk for HIV) do not give each other cancer or heart disease, but they can give each other HIV. They are neither "self-inflictors" nor innocent victims."

Finally Ricky, please note that I, who was infected at work while caring for others with this disease, do not in any way, shape or form consider myself to be any more "innocent" or "guilty" than any of the other 33,000,000 HIVers around the globe.

Ricky I hope you will reconsider your position. I can assure you and all our readers that The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation will not restrict energy or resources from anyone in need of services. To do so would be immoral and unconscionable!

Dr. Bob

Edited by TheBody (12/10/07 07:35 PM)

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scottsfriends
Newbie

Reged: 12/10/07
Posts: 2
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234335 - 12/10/07 09:17 PM

This type of attitude from the annonomous poster does not surprise me. People living with HIV and AIDS experience these types of attitudes on a regular basis. Sometime overt, but most times in some back handed form. I believe that our society is not at all enlightened on the subject of HIV. People find it easy to put people with HIV or AIDS into a neat little category. "Those poeple that are gay", "The drug users", The poor suffering people in Africa". By categorizing people in such a way society really does not have to deal with the realites of HIV. Becasue it of course is never them! Blameworthy? Innocent? I read that a recent survey said 1 out of 3 people would not get tested for HIV because they were afraid of what people might think of them just to know that they got tested. It is no wonder that it is estimated that 1 out of 4 people infected with HIV living in the United States do not know they are infected. Why would they even want to get tested when they fear being found out for just taking a test! Imagine what we go through every day when HIV is part of our daily lives. I found it curious that one of the very first things my Dr told me when he delivered the bad news is this,"You may not want to tell anyone for a while, People dont react well to this" Indeed they do not. I have lost contact with many people I used to talk to regularly. It is easy to support someone right away,when they are sick, newly diagnosed, and maybe afraid they are not going to live. But after you survive it is amazing how that support vanishes. When people like this poster can hide behind their computer screen and say such awful things, I know that the fight to stop the spread of HIV and to find a cure is light years away. How sad.
I have a campaign that I am hoping to raise the awarenss of the social stigma that comes with having HIV and AIDS.PLease visit scottsfriends.com to learn more about it.
Sincerely,Scott Hawkins

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kaeza28
Newbie

Reged: 12/10/07
Posts: 1
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234339 - 12/10/07 10:51 PM

I went through so many emotions reading Ricky's post and Dr. Frascino's reply - rage, pity, sorrow, even a little nausea - but in the end, I found myself feeling two emotions I definitely didn't expect: gratitude and hope. I feel gratitude for people like Dr. Frascino, who can calmly, logically and rationally reply to such a controversial statement. This, I believe, is the way to continue spreading information and understanding about HIV - without getting argumentative or accusatory, but instead simply giving the facts with compassion and understanding. I also feel hope, because with sites like The Body and all the people who continue to fight the war on this virus and the stigma surrounding it, we may actually get somewhere. So kudos to Dr. F and everyone at The Body. You have my thanks and admiration.

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AIDS2HIV
Unregistered

Post deleted by Becky new
      #234345 - 12/11/07 12:42 AM



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pozz_in_SA
Member

Reged: 09/21/06
Posts: 11
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234346 - 12/11/07 01:32 AM

My first thought after reading this was to post a snotty note to Ricky. But I guess he should be allowed to live in his stupidity. Thanx Bob for answering him the way you did. If he still has doubts he surely doesn't deserve another thought.

He should know that many HIV sufferes have the exact same thoughts. I know I did because I told myself that I brought this on myself. I wantd to rather die than to face life. Unfortunately dying is not that easy so I decided to fight back. I am taking responsibility for my own actions so should everyone else. Stop shifting blame and start living life. I hope Ricky neverhave to experience the suffering when one of his lovedones is diagnosed positive. Then I would like to see hm telling that person that he does not deserve care. YOU MIGHT HAVE TOLD A LOVEONE THIS BY MAKING THIS POST.

JS

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SteveA
Member

Reged: 10/31/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Midwest USA
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" new
      #234348 - 12/11/07 03:12 AM

Maybe that explains why my ASO took away my dental for two years while continuing to supply boxes and boxes of condoms to people coming in asking for free condoms and lubes to supply their orgy parties.

Yes I literally witnessed this event while I was voluteering at the local ASO! A Guy was throwing an orgy and came in to the ASO for a box of "Party Favors" of lube, condoms and sex toys! That was the last day of my volunteer work. He could afford the money to party with alchohol and recreational drugs, but not supply his own sexual items? I couldn't see my DENTIST!

--------------------
MatrixWorkz 3D Freebies

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vokz
Grand Master

Reged: 09/06/07
Posts: 164
Loc: London, UK
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234350 - 12/11/07 06:04 AM

It doesn’t take Einstein to work out who ‘Ricky’ is (especially not if you also frequent other HIV forums).

‘Ricky’ is a poor lost soul who has been denied something that he wants .. something that he thinks is his by right.

Someone is getting something that he thinks he deserves, so he is lashing out at what he considers to be an easy target.

The really sad thing is that ‘Ricky’ himself – despite years of negative HIV tests – is probably obsessed with the possibility that he himself could have HIV. He has probably sought attention in this very forum.

He doesn’t sicken me. He is pathetic, not very clever and quite probably mentally ill.

I actually feel pity for him.


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Leonardo
Guru

Reged: 08/07/07
Posts: 233
Loc: New Jersey
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234351 - 12/11/07 06:13 AM

I think Vokz hit the nail right on the head.

The only other plausible explanation is that Ricky is really Mike Huckabee's user name.

Leo


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vokz
Grand Master

Reged: 09/06/07
Posts: 164
Loc: London, UK
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234352 - 12/11/07 06:18 AM

LOL

Not quite what I was thinking .. but close enough and equally stupid ;)


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davidboyd1
Newbie

Reged: 12/11/07
Posts: 1
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234353 - 12/11/07 08:45 AM

Have you ever seen the Holocaust Museum? "Schindler's List"? You get the point. Why should an ignoramus like this shock anyone?

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Jackie__Blue
Legend

Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" new
      #234360 - 12/11/07 02:40 PM

It's easy to get mad, rage, pass Ricky off as some poor delusional, misguided soul, but the fact remains his views are held by a majority of the population. That's not to say that most people feel that people with HIV don't deserve care, but I'm sure many feel that people with HIV....got what they deserved. It's a disease linked to sex and drugs, there and in it's self lies why the stigma over HIV remains so strong. We've made some advances in getting people to understand how HIV is and isn't transmitted. Not so much in the preception of the 'types' of people that get HIV.

Changing people's perceptions is a slow process. HIV education and prevention chips away, but I don't feel that we will see total acceptace of our disease...at least not in my lifetime.

For me the solution is to recognize that stigma is there, fight it when and where I can, but not let it deter me from living my life.

I also wanted to comment on the posts about ASOs. They aren't perfect. Nothing is. Money that comes into ASO comes from different sources and is earmarked for different things. Add to that the fact that all sources of funding are drying up or cutting back. Private donations and fund-raising only can bring in so much....(see above about perceptions. As we tend to say. It's not the warm fuzzy disease that make people want to donate.

For example in our ASO. We have cover 5 counties. We receive funding from Ryan White A&B. Clients from 4 counties are covered by Ryan White part B. One by Ryan White part A. Even if we have extra money from Ryan A not being used by those clients in the 1 county, we are not allowed to use it for clients that live in the other 4 counties. Whereas our state grant covers all our clients.

One grant we receive is only for mental health services. HOPWA is for housing services.

Our Orasure grant does not cover any costs for client services. The monies provided are strictly for training testers and the testing program.

So, for instance the ASO that could not provide dental, but could provide condoms probably had lost or exhasted their funding for the dental, but had funding for prevention programs(condoms). So while they couldn't send you to the dentist, they could still provide condoms to help reduce the chances of new transmissions.

Almost all grants, earmark some of the money for administrative (staff) and those funds may not be transferred to client services. In our case we have a grant that stipulates money for a part-time administrative assistant. We haven't found one yet, so the money just sits for the moment.

Grants are audited. Implementation plans must be submitted. Monthly progress reports must be completed. Expenses must be validated and submitted. A great deal of administrative time is required for record-keeping in connection with each grant.

It doesn't make sense, it's a lot of red tape but ASOs must follow the rules of the grants or risk losing it all.

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TRex
Master

Reged: 01/09/07
Posts: 129
Loc: California, USA
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234388 - 12/12/07 01:16 AM

Ricky, I agree with Dr. Bob. As a healthcare professional and someone who has HIV, I think your thinking is warped. If you follow that line then people who eat themselves into oblivion; the large % of our population who are obese do not deserve healthcare because of their "self inflicted behavior" The results of obesity cause a huge toll on medicine (both in time and money); obesity leads to hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. With your thinking not only should we not waste our funds but we should deny them insurance also.
You say "I don't mean to underrate the disease" but what you are doing is underrating the people. You believe we don't "deserve" healthcare. Is this not a form of "playing God". Who is to say who is deserving or not? Do convicted murderers or child molesters deserve healthcare? They have committed grievous crimes on person and society yet get free care for whatever their ailments are. Do they deserve compassion?
If you are going to make qualified statements about something you are so obviously unqualified about perhaps you should expand your knowledge and dislike to everyone who participates in any kind of "self inflicting" behavior.
Thanks Dr. Bob for being here for us.


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TRex
Master

Reged: 01/09/07
Posts: 129
Loc: California, USA
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234389 - 12/12/07 01:22 AM

Oh..and "Ricky"...you are so righteous in your comments but not brave enough to post who you are. Thats tells me a lot.

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vokz
Grand Master

Reged: 09/06/07
Posts: 164
Loc: London, UK
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It? new
      #234393 - 12/12/07 05:04 AM

I don’t usually look at the ‘ask the experts’ forums, but I was curious to see how the above exchange had developed.

Anyone with any lingering doubts about the true identity of ‘Rick’ (and hence whether indeed he is a former regular of this forum with several years worth of negative tests to his name) may want to take a look (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/index.html).

The real clincher is:

“you're so full of shit” (http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Current/Q189253.html)
Dec 9, 2007

“it's not even funny. you only answer those to whom you feel intellectually superior. you never come to terms with the fact that homosexual men are in a crisis with hiv/aids that is unique to every other community's experience with the disease. and you foolishly do this in blind faith that you're doing right by your people. but you're actually doing wrong by them.
GOOD JOB! i'm glad you're not MY healthcare advocate! “

Can you find a single aspect of the post, made when pure rage has taken over, that isn’t strikingly familiar?

.. and all this on the same day that he (in a more familiar guise) also vented in (and was sent packing from) the ‘Am I infected’ forums over at Aidsmeds :)


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RayNGrant
Member

Reged: 12/12/07
Posts: 10
Loc: Minnesota
Re: Should You Get HIV Care Only If You "Deserve" It?
      #234404 - 12/12/07 01:04 PM

When it comes to diseases that are transmitted sexually, there is ALWAYS an attitude of shame, guilt and condemnation heaped upon the victim. It's pervasive in our society regarding anything related to sex and gender - women are blamed for getting raped, gays/lesbians/bi's/transgendered folks are assumed to have brought violence upon themselves for their "lifestyle choice", and one is to be blamed and shamed for getting a sexually transmitted disease. The more serious the disease, the more shame and condemnation put upon you...

Yet no one would consider "blaming" the victim when one has diabetes (that could've been avoided with exercise and healthy eating), or emphysema/lung cancer/heart problems when the person could've stopped smoking, or liver disease when the perosn could've stopped drinking and dealth with their alcoholism, etc. - yadda-yadda-yadda... (or certainly no where near the amount of shame and criticism that befalls someone with a sexually transmitted disease like HIV.

It is disheartening, but certainly not "surprising" that this individual made this post.

There just needs to be continued dialog with individuals and institutions to dispell these attitudes - but it's going to take time and a lot of frustrating effort. These attitudes won't die easy.

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