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Here's what I would say to him:

Diabetes is a devastating disease. It affects every
aspect of daily life. Managing it successfully requires 
thought and attention every day, around the clock. It 
requires a level of self-control that is hard to describe.

Diabetes blights lives. It also shortens lives. The 
longterm complications of diabetes include blindness, 
kidney failure, nerve damage, and vascular disease.
Good control is not a guarantee against developing
these complications.

The impact of diabetes on people's quality of life is 
often underestimated. In part that's because we who
suffer from it cannot afford to think and talk too much
about what may happen to us. If we're to avoid despair
we can't dwell on the worst.

Diabetes is not as socially stigmatized as AIDS, but
there *is* a social stigma to having diabetes. Schools
and employers often treat diabetics' need for life-
sustaining injections as though it were something 
shameful. Like people with AIDS, people with diabetes 
are often told that we are to blame for our disease, 
and even that we deserve it. This is untrue.

Right now there are several promising avenues 
towards a cure for type 1 diabetes. There are also
important steps that can be taken in the prevention
and treatment of type 2 diabetes. None of this can
be accomplished without will or funding. I applaud
your contribution to funding for AIDS research; but 
diseases with less glamorous reputations need 
research dollars, too.

/Janet Lafler

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