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Readers Sound Off

Readers Sound Off

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No HIV Patient Left Behind I read your magazine for the first time this week and was truly moved by the article 'Seeing the Light' [February]. I applaud your efforts to provide good news in a bad-news situation. I have always'tried my best to have compassion for others, and now I can definitely put these attributes to good use. No person, regardless of medical status, should ever become forgotten in society. I proudly stand with you in fighting this epidemic, and I want to say thank you for educating society. Stacy Dixon via e-mail Firsthand Experience I enjoyed your piece titled 'Seeing the Light.' For the past 17 years of my 24 years of imprisonment I have been involved in providing education and counseling to HIV-infected prisoners in all the prisons I have been placed, being part of a vanguard that brought about the first HIV peer education and counseling program in the men's prisons in New York, at Auburn Correctional Facility in 1987. In this time I have found that one of the most effective ways to help a person stay healthy and stress-free, and thus ward off the progression of the virus, is through pastoral care and counseling as well as encouraging prisoners to turn toward spiritual empowerment and healing. For close to a decade New York led the nation in prisoner deaths because of AIDS, primarily because of the insufficient medical treatment and care but largely also because of the lack of support that prisoners receive from outside groups and agencies. Many of these groups do not want to interact with the prisoner until he is released, but the sad story is that the majority of inmates are not making it home'many are being 'paroled to death' by being constantly denied parole. Yusuf A. Shakoor Otisville, N.Y. Just Knowing Is Better In May 2003 I began to have severe pain in my right leg, up to and including the hip, but neither my primary care physician nor any specialists have been able to diagnose my problem'more than half a year later. I have been learning about cases of vascular necrosis and osteoporosis, which might (depending on the research you read) be related to anti-HIV medications or even HIV itself. I don't know what lies ahead of me, except for the painkillers I take daily, but I feel much better about finally having learned more about these conditions on your Web site. Walter via e-mail Legal Wranglings Rep. Mark Souder's actions concerning marijuana law penalties are insulting ['Republican Bill Targets Medicinal Marijuana,' www.hivplusmag .com]. My mother has been on more than 25 prescription medications for epilepsy. None of these medications have worked to stop her seizures and auras. She has even had the vagus nerve stimulator implanted in her neck; this has not worked either. She is so depressed that she speaks of suicide often. Cannabis is able to prevent her seizures. The war against medicinal marijuana isn't about protecting patients. It's about ignorance and politics. Souder would have Americans believe that medicinal marijuana is a cruel hoax or myth. There is no question that cannabinoids have medicinal value. Why else would pharmaceutical companies be scrambling to create synthetic versions of them? Scott Russ Baton Rouge, La.
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