Turning 30 is a huge milestone birthday, at least, it was for most people I know. In the months leading up to my birthday I used the time to evaluate where I stood in my life. What were my accomplishments? What were my failures? As AIDS approaches its 30th birthday the people who fight the disease are asking the same questions.
While we've made significant advances against the disease, such as new medications and expanding access to treatment. HIV/AIDS is still a killer. AIDS has become the elephant in the middle of the room that no one wants to talk about. By allowing that to happen we've done a massive disservice to the early pioneers and AIDS advocates. Where modern day activists accept a promise of hope, maybe, 10 years from now the first generation of AIDS activists demanded action and answers. I m inclined to believe that the fight against HIV has willingly been placed on the back burner because our attitude has been influenced by the pharmaceutical industry.
In my opinion there is one large, unspoken truth that society has swept under the rug. While contracting HIV is not the immediate death sentence it was in the 80's and 90's. It is however, still a death sentence. Just because the medications prolong my life and help me from getting sick longer, doesn't mean that the complications from the illness will not eventually claim my life. Every 12 minutes someone in the world dies from AIDS related complications. Anti-retro virals are great. The medication Fuzeon literally saved me safe in 2006. They are my life line. However, the meds are expensive, require a strict adherence schedule and sometimes fail. I cant personally take any medicine in the NNRTI class or Isentress. This limits my fighting ability greatly. Eventually all medications lose their desired effective treatment ability. As with everything it's only a matter of time.
I am saddened, aggravated and non apologetic for my brutal honesty and no nonsense dialogue in the war against AIDS. I feel that as an activist I have the responsibility to not sugar coat or make light of this disease or its effects. I wish I could say that there is a magic pill or simple answer. There isn't. That's the reality. As we come closer to the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS as we know it I would like to say its reign of terror is nearing end. That sadly isn't the reality. AIDS is a live and well. Together though we can ensure that AIDS doesn't have a 40th birthday. I know it's possible if we are open, honest, and look at HIV/AIDS as it really is. A cold blooded serial killer who needs to be wiped off the face of the Earth. After 30 years there is still no cure, no vaccine, and no end in sight.
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