Robert Garofalo was diagnosed with HIV in 2010 after a "series of consecutive, unfortunate events," and then struggled through some of the darkest moments in his life. Garofalo had been diagnosed with cancer a few years prior, had split up with his partner of 10 years and was violently assaulted.
"It was amazing that I was able to keep my life moving forward," he remembered. "I fell into this dangerous, bad place, and I wasn't sure I would be able to keep going."
Garofalo, M.D., M.P.H., is a respected clinician and researcher in Chicago. He's the head of adolescent medicine at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital -- a dedicated provider who cares deeply for the LGBT and HIV-positive young people he serves. He is also an accomplished researcher, with more than 60 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Struggling with a new diagnosis, he felt trapped -- and unwilling to disclose his new status out of fear that stigma and discrimination might irrevocably damage his career and personal relationships.
But Garofalo found Fred. And Fred saved his life.
This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Read tan alternate article.