Today is World AIDS Day, a global day of remembrance and a call to arms to continue the fight until it’s over.
I’ve personally lost a number of friends to the tragedy of HIV and AIDS and today I pause to remember them all.
The fight continues, science is advancing rapidly and amfAR has dedicated $100million dollars to finding a cure by 2020, dubbed the Countdown to a Cure campaign. “This is the moon shot of our generation.” said Kevin Robert Frost, CEO of amfAR (the foundation for AIDS Research).
It’s amazing how the advances of science and research have allowed individuals – like me – to live full and productive lives despite HIV infection. There are new medications hitting the markets all of the time. New prevention methods, and new educational information. Years ago I would take upwards of 30 pills a day to prevent my infection from progressing, today I take a total of 4 pills once per day….and there ARE single dose daily medications new to the market that show much promise. The chances of going into long-term remission are much greater than ever before. I am one of those lucky ones who has been in a long term remission for years and I continue to test with no detectable viral burden, and very high T-cells. I’m lucky, I’m still here years after I thought I would be doomed. I live healthy, and I don’t let HIV rule my life. It’s a delicate balance.
I hope that today we will all pause and remember those lost. I haven’t seen the Quilt for years now, I don’t even think there is space to display it in it’s entirety anymore, but I remember the impact that viewing it during it’s last full display on the National Mall in Washington, DC in 1992, had on me. I didn’t realize then that I would face losing many friends, that I would discover my own positive sero-status and that it would have such an effect on my life. In some ways HIV saved my life, it forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and to change my ways drastically. I got clean and started paying attention. Many of my friends weren’t so lucky, and I miss them.
Here are links to other sources for anyone wishing to read more about this day and about HIV/AIDS in today’s world.