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Am I too optimistic for my own good?
May 30, 2013

Hello Nelson. I would frist like to thank you so much for your valued contributions to this site! I found out about my AIDS diagnosis a year ago. Your story has inspired me in so many ways and helped me to be in a better place with this diagnosis. I do have a question. I and a family member who knows of my diagnosis were discussing newer treatments and cure research. I remain hopeful that the future treatments will be even more effective and less harsh on the body than current ones. I also am hopeful of a possible cure in the future. However, my family member is much more pessimistic than I. She believes a cure will never be found or if one is found, the pharmacutical companies will keep it from the public in order to continue bringing in the profits. What is your take on this? Is the scientific community confident in the inevitability of better treatments and an eventual cure? Thanks again for all of your help!

Response from Mr. Vergel

Tell her she is wrong.

One adult patient has been cured ( Timothy Brown: The Other Side of the Cure . A newborn baby's infection was effectively eliminated. Three more HIV+ people may have signs of being cured in the next few months after going through chemo+bone marrow transplants for their cancer.

I belong to a group of activists that works on HIV cure advocacy issues. We meet monthly and attend many of the cure related meetings that researchers and regulators attend. And I can tell you that even we cannot keep up with how fast cure research is moving! There is intense competition and fresh funding since first reports of the Berlin patient.

People think pharmaceutical companies are not spending money on HIV cure research. While it is true that their main goal now is to make profits selling their oral medications, companies like Merck, Gilead, Jansen and others are main players in the meetings we attend. Whoever gets to the cure first will make millions. 34 million people are waiting, and 2 million more get infected every year.

We do not know how long it will take, but the cure will be a real possibility. I hope to see it in my lifetime. And I hope our health care systems can afford what it may cost.

You may want to have your family member watch this short video I made: Is the cure of AIDS possible in our lifetime?

Our challenge is to adhere to our medications, take care of any health issues that may come up (which may not be HIV related), be productive and have a happy life while we wait for the day when we watch in TV how the cure will be dispensed to those who need it first. After 17 years of having effective antiretroviral therapy, many people around the world who need treatment do not get it. So I will not surprised if many people will not have access to the cure even after years of its commercialization unless we change the way we do things in the world.

Let's work together to educate others who believe in conspiracy theories that destroy hope in HIV+ people who may not be well informed and happen to hear untrue information from people around them. We are all messengers. We need to feed hope and starve despair.

Nelson Vergel



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