POSITIVELY AWARE May/June 2012comment
- Positively Impressed
- Beyond belief
- Article of faith
- Book of love
- Personal Belief
- There's an app for that
I was very positively impressed with what you presented in the March+April issue on HIV drugs. We are primary and secondary providers of HIV care within a huge academic environment and are always looking for ways to ensure patients understand the importance of credibility and good sources of reliable information to help them engage in and manage their own care.
As pharmacy team case managers, we have contact with every patient who starts or changes an antiretroviral treatment regimen in order to assess their readiness and understanding of treatment, so all of what you presented in this issue is of tremendous relevance and importance. We pull information from several sources to assist our patients, but this is the first time I’ve seen something so concise in one publication that is not only useful to the patients but to those of us who have to refer back often to this information as well. I’ve also bookmarked your website for future reference.
Thanks for offering such great information in your publication!
—Robert B. Blackwell, MSN, RN, ACRN
Vanderbilt Comprehensive Care Clinic
As an openly HIV-positive person and a proud Atheist, I was glad to see that your recent “Living on a Prayer” [January+February] issue did not forgo any of the truly necessary items for somebody living with HIV—particularly the medical journal summaries and clinical trial information. My life is not sustained on any prayers, but on advanced medical science.
I found the most fascinating and successful aspects of your issue were those that focused on the topic of keeping HIV/AIDS patients healthy, tested, medicated, informed, and educated. These articles did an excellent job, even while approaching their religious topics (for example, the article about gay Muslims with HIV by Ms. Saltmarsh, or while addressing the church’s restraint of scientific research over the past 1,000 years by Mr. Iacopelli).
But when your focus shifted to attempt to keep (or move) HIV/AIDS patients to a more God-based mind-set? I found this to be most definitively inappropriate and unsuccessful. Your articles made no new convert of me, and, in fact, much of the information you provided (such as Ms. Patterson’s confusing article on faith-based-organizations which are admittedly not fully rooted in religious principles, or in the wholly unhelpful advice by Father Kovach) showed the effort would—and should—be futile.
I have expressed my full thoughts in a three-part series on my Atheist blog. These can be found at http://bit.ly/FaithandHIV, http://bit.ly/FaithandHIV2, and at http://bit.ly/FaithandHIV3, and at Facebook.com/thehonestatheist.
Again, thank you for the work that you do. I will continue reading your important journal!
VIA THE INTERNET
I just love PA. Your magazine has been my guide and teacher since 2004 and I always appreciate the insights and the info. We order multiple copies for our support groups, and I think PA has been a lifesaver for some of our clients. Can’t wait for the next issue.
I run a faith-based HIV/AIDS service organization and we have worked tirelessly for 16 years against fundamentalist ideology and stigma, and, dare I say, hate in the Christian community. It is there for sure, but it’s not all of us, by any means. There are many, many Christian allies in the fight. We are gay, straight, black, white, Methodist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Presbyterian (you get the picture), and even Baptist. We are followers of Christ and we come in all stripes.
What I want Sal Iacopelli to know is that we fight for him, too. We use our Christian values, that he derides, to push for love, compassion, and social justice. We get in trouble. We “act up” and we stand up for him. It’s what Jesus would do.
Please don’t paint us all with the same brush.
—Wayne Smith, Director
CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH OF BEARDEN
The “church” never has been and never will be perfect. One cringes at all the harm that the church has caused in the name of Christ. And, unfortunately, the present day church in many cases is no better. The problem, to me, has always been, and probably will always be, when we try to use the Bible as a “proof text” to support a preconceived set of beliefs or behavior.
The Bible is not a science text, or philosophy, or even an accurate history. Every time in history that the church has tried to make the Bible something it isn’t, the church has run into problems. The Bible cannot be used as a proof text for science, for philosophy, or for history. What the Bible does is tell us how we are to relate to God and to our fellow man.
When we treat the Bible as a love story—God’s love for His creation and our response to His love, we can come to a better understanding of what the Bible actually teaches. Just as God’s love is all-embracing so should our love be. My suggestion to anyone who doubts what the Bible really teaches is that they read, re-read, and study 1 John. John’s letter is filled with the teaching of love. 1 John 4:16 has become the one verse which, to me, seems to summarize the entire Bible—“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
In spite of all the harm the church may have caused over the years, there is also no other organization which has brought about as much good. And who can really deny the results that could be realized if all mankind would live by the commandments to love God and neighbor.
VIA THE INTERNET
I just want to applaud Sal Iacopelli for telling the truth about not just the Catholic church, but the whole “Christian” mess.
It is way too popular, even among gay, HIV-positive people, to gush about “God’s love” when way too many experience anything but love from those who claim to be devoted to a religious faith. That was clear in the article about the Muslim community too.
This country was formed from a desire for religious freedom, but these days, that is becoming lost in the fundamentalist Christian determination to obliterate everyone else’s freedom and impose the absurd, illogical, and hypocritical “teachings” of the Bible on everyone.
I respect the right of anyone to choose to believe in that fairytale as long as they respect my right to believe in my own and don’t try to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body, or who I can and can’t love.
Sometimes I think it would be best for us all if those who believe in the Christian myth were to live in one area of the country (they can have Texas and their President Rick Santorum) and the rest of us could be free of them and their fundamentalist terrorism. For me, I’d want to live where Sal does.
VIA THE INTERNET
I saw your article regarding active intervention on gay social apps and wanted to share some thoughts on the Know Your Status campaign we use at Hornet.
Since stats show that HIV infections are on the rise and public awareness campaigns are muted, less present, and fatigued, we built our positive intervention strategy around focus groups and ways to help remind our community about their personal choices.
In addition, the choices an individual user makes for having a community talk about HIV are equally important. Many social apps go to great lengths to hide this discussion and limit it. In fact, we sometimes prevent users from disclosing their status in profiles. However, for some users it’s hard for them to find the right time to disclose, and there needs to be more understanding around viral loads, early detection, and STIs.
Thank you for the article on reaching out to young gay men through Grindr. This is an important conversation and I hope you continue to explore gay social apps.
VIA THE INTERNET