In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1st, we had invited
Regine Dawes and her client, Scott Bishop, from the Long Island
Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC) to come talk about his experiences
living with HIV. He provided a very personal and engaging talk,
breaking stereotypes and the stigma usually attached to the disease.
Also tying in with this event, AMSA, SOIMA and LGBT all organized a
bake sale leading up to this talk. We were able to raise more than
$150 and all proceeds are to go towards LIAAC.
Scott revealed to us how he contracted the disease through unprotected
sex with a childhood friend he had known since grade school. He later
learned, as she was being sentenced that she herself had been infected
with the virus in the same manner and basically made it her mission to
spread the disease to as many people as possible. She unfortunately
was successful in infecting 6 people and was later sentenced to carry
out six consecutive life sentences in prison.
Scott also shared with us how his perspective on life completely
changed. He would constantly worry about discovering new lesions on
his body, live with the constant feeling of needles pricking at the
skin of his legs, a telltale sign of peripheral neuropathy and how a
single cut or wound may makes him scared to death because it makes it
susceptible for him to infect others. He has battled through PCP
(pneumocystis pneumonia) infection, Kaposi’s sarcoma and wasting
syndrome and at one point, he had been on 36 drugs at one time. He
realizes that this is his life now but he never allows himself to give
up fighting. However, he was not always this accepting of his illness.
Upon finding out his diagnosis after a required physical exam he
needed to have as an MMA fighter, he revealed that he inflicted
$60,000 worth of damage to the doctor’s office that broke the
diagnosis to him. During the trial of the childhood friend that had
passed the infection to him, he had been held in contempt twice and
was charged with intent on doing bodily harm to the suspect, which was
He is now happily married to his wife of 11 years, who is also HIV+,
and revealed that he uses protection with her because her strain of
HIV and his strain of HIV may be different and having unprotected sex
may escalate each other’s infection. He is now currently on six
medications, 3 for viral load and 3 for T cell. His T cell count is
now currently at 473 and had undetectable viral load. Scott reminds us
that as medical professions, it is important to treat the patient, not
the disease or symptoms alone.