For “In the Clinic” in the September + October issue, John J. Parisot, PhD, MSN, RN, of Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation in Chicago, noted, “It’s not just newly diagnosed people who need education. I’ve had long-time patients say, ‘I know there are two important numbers, but I can’t remember which one is supposed to go up [CD4 count] and which one’s supposed to go down [viral load.]”

His observation inspired Katherine E. Shumate, MPH, a health planning administrator at the Ohio Department of Health, to create the following illustration.

“In reading the comment by Dr. Parisot, a solution just jumped out at me that might be helpful. The ‘4’ in CD4 points up (the direction you want the count of these cells to go) and the ‘V’ in viral load points down (the direction you want this measure to go). It is a visual mnemonic device that is easy to remember. This is a quick graphic that I threw together with only limited tools available—someone else could certainly do a better job.

“I can’t believe I have worked in HIV for more than 30 years and only when I saw John’s quote did this really obvious tool hit me.”

Enid Vázquez responds:  Thank you for your letter and your graphic. That’s what “In the Clinic” is about—providers inspiring each other, and the people they serve, with information that could lead to better service. See this issue’s “In The Clinic” on page 12.

An ally shares support

Even though I don’t have HIV, I have friends who live with the virus. One of them was so happy for being part of the top favorites. I helped him take the pictures.

The history of HIV has been sad. One of my friends lost his boyfriend due to complications with the virus. Since then I had educated myself about the subject, and I have aimed my acting skills and writer's skills in the social consciousness of ending discrimination in Puerto Rico, where I live. I had a partner with HIV, and it was sad for me to see him constantly feel not loved, or afraid of being rejected by others. Projects like yours help those living with the virus feel loved and accepted.

I’m a law student right now. One of my aims is to fight discrimination through law. I do hope #adaywithhiv was a success this year and that you keep on working on similar projects.

—Irving Rodriguez Acosta

via Instagram

Freddie Mercury was the star of POSITIVELY AWARE’s booth at September’s U.S. Conference on AIDS in Washington, D.C. Actually, it was a painting of the legendary lead singer of Queen that was the attraction. Coincidentally, the conference opened on what would have been Mercury’s 73rd birthday; Mercury died in 1991 of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. PA’s booth was turned into a “social media living room,” providing the opportunity for conversation and selfies. The painting, along with the booth’s living room furniture, were provided by Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and What Not, a local resale shop popular within D.C.’s gay community and known for donating to HIV-related causes. Making themselves at home were (above, from left) Charles Sanchez, Victoria Noe, Mark S. King, Robert Reister, Nancy Duncan, and Ernesto Aldana.