This is a trend of concern to many longtime AIDS survivors. Our doctors, who've cared for and closely collaborated with us keeping us alive and thriving over many years, are retiring. In April, my long-term physician, Dr. Fred Strauss, exited from serving patients at the Castro Mission Health Center.
Now, word comes from New York City that AIDS doctor and hero Dr. Paul Bellman, pictured, is closing his practice at the end of the year. He has snail-mailed the follow letter to his patients:
My friend and dynamic AIDS treatment advocate Mike Barr, and soon to be former patient, shared some thoughts about Paul and his work:
He was also one of the few good physicians left who would agree to see ADAP patients. God only knows who they will find to take care of them now - but again I suppose the Affordable Care Act eventually will render that point moot? But what do they do in the meantime?
His practice was also great but perhaps not unique in that everything was under one roof: phlebotomy, infusion therapy, etc. his phlebotomists, in particular, were greatly loved and famous for their conviviality, generosity, patience and charm. Where in the world will we ever find that to replicate?
Also, many HIV docs in the city are not accepting new patients - especially, as you might imagine the really good ones (to the extent that any really great HIV doctors exist anymore!).
Let's hope his patients are able to transfer their care to new doctors without too much stress and worry. Many thanks to Paul and his staffers for their years of unstinting service to gay men and people with AIDS.