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Readers Sound Off

Readers Sound Off

Fed Up With Fear Almost every day we hear stories about people like Stephen Derrig ['Kindred Spirit,' November 2004]. Because they do not fit some outdated notion of the type of person who becomes HIV-infected, it seems no one would dare assume or suggest that they might carry this virus'least of all their physicians! If we cannot trust in all our physicians to not be swayed by their fear of the stigma associated with HIV in a diagnosis that can mean life or death for a patient, how can we expect all of them to efficiently and successfully treat those of us who know we are infected with the virus? The medical field has to educate its own! Mary Allen San Francisco Tools of the Trade Thank you so much for the sharp story on federal policy ['The Weak in Washington,' October 2004]. It was a pleasure to find it in my mailbox! I plan on using it as a framework for understanding federal issues in our upcoming training course. Julie Davids, Executive Director Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project New York City I read with puzzlement then rage about the stupidity of my government and the malaise of my people. Our politicians try to gain our support by offering billions to help Africa; our activists are out in front of the White House screaming for that and better HIV care in prisons. Have we forgotten our fellow Americans? Have we lost our focus? In America today a diagnosis of HIV can be the beginning of a horrible life. Where are our ACT UPs and local press when it comes to reporting this? If you have HIV and you are too sick to work, you may apply for disability. In Pennsylvania after about six months you will be summarily denied benefits. This begins the appeals process. In the meantime, your paperwork sits on desks of people who could not care less about your life or your dignity. Once you are unemployed your insurance ceases. The state may provide you with $276 a month to exist on. If you get pneumonia or anything else, you are bankrupt within days. It has been proposed that people who are diagnosed get Medicare immediately, since the medical expenses are incredible just for maintenance. Our elected officials defeated our ability to do this. The Social Security Administration claims that people with AIDS get expedited disability approval, but this is not true. In states where comprehensive AIDS Drug Assistance Programs are not available you will go bankrupt buying meds at retail prices, and when you have depleted your money you will wait unmedicated for a chance at getting on ADAP.'The fact that this means someone has to die for you to get a spot seems to mean nothing to anyone. We have a regime in Washington more concerned with shoveling money at the pharmaceutical and defense industries than helping Americans live.'We have a president who promises us much, delivers nothing, and faces little criticism from us. We set up a situation where people are getting HIV because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not interested in primary prevention, then when a person seroconverts we hand them poverty and such minimal care that AIDS is the only result. It is neglect on a criminal basis perpetrated by the people who are supposed to protect us. Name Withheld Philadelphia
Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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