The news came after he’d already survived kidney cancer and a breakup with his longtime partner.
At first, he told almost no one about his HIV status — not even his own elderly mother, who sensed that her son was struggling mightily during a Christmas visit in 2010.
Garofalo recalls crying on much of the flight home to Chicago in a catharsis that led him to an unexpected decision, one that helped him in ways no human could and ultimately led him to a new role in the HIV community.
The doctor, who’s helped save many an AIDS patient, knows it sounds a little crazy that the companionship and simple needs of a pet could help him cope with his disease and pull him out of depression.
Eventually, Garofalo sought counseling and told his mother and friends about his HIV status.
Participants whose images are in the show include a young mother from Los Angeles who was born with HIV, a Chicago man who tested positive after he was gang raped, and an HIV-positive man in San Francisco who quit dealing drugs so he could provide a more stable life for himself and his newly adopted dog.
The child is not HIV-positive thanks to medical interventions that can now prevent the spread of the virus from mother to infant.
[…] with new, less complicated treatments, many people are living healthy, productive lives with the AIDS virus.
Even a matter of months ago, and although he’d gone public with his HIV status, Garofalo did not want to talk about how he suspects he contracted the virus because he doesn’t want to inadvertently imply that people who’ve gotten the virus through drug use or consensual sex deserve to be shamed.
“Rob is a hero,” says the Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House, an organization that provides homeless services to HIV-positive people and others.
An HIV-positive teen in Los Angeles recently wrote Garofalo a letter to thank him and his Fred-inspired charity for providing money so he could buy a much-needed pair of shoes.
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