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Read Now: Expert Opinions on HIV Cure Research
  
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Silence Equals Death!

Summer 2011

The message "Silence Equals Death" of the '80s and '90s that we desperately and defiantly displayed on our t-shirts and banners or whatever else we could paste or splash it on, was the cry of Persons With AIDS and their friends. We screamed: "Stop the dying. We demand a medical response for this disease that is killing us!"

Today, many of us who now take the medication for granted are alive because of our pioneers' wave after wave of protests to educate and challenge the doctors and the pharmaceutical companies. The demonstrations led by ACT-UP were dramatic and not always pretty, but they worked. Society responded and money poured into scientific research and the results were the astounding breakthroughs in research on HIV and the immune system, followed by treatment medication. I cherish and honor the memories of those heroes and heroines who fought, over the years, for their lives -- and for the many who died while waiting for science to advance.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Jorge (Portugal) Thu., Sep. 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm EDT
It really concerns me that few people have written comments to this thread. Have we all been made so passive by the consumer society and greedy selfish capitalism that we no longer rise up and fight for a better deal - like a CURE, rather than a life-time of dependency on expensive drugs and all sorts of side-effects?
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Comment by: Pretoria (South Africa) Thu., Aug. 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm EDT
I am a white female and my husband a black male! I love my husband with all my heart.....I am the one who said to my husband go for a test it will be ok....because they have meds now etc. WHAT a lie!!! I watch my husband suffer every day from side effects of the meds ( which affects our marriage)...... whoever designed this virus ( and I am sure it was a human being)....whoever it is........ you just do not know what suffering and death you have caused!!!!! I WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON THE ONE I LOVE
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Comment by: J (boston) Thu., Aug. 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm EDT
No this virus, HIV, was not designed by any human. There is ample evidence that it has existed for many many years before spreading from chimpanzees to humans and before becoming epidemic in the human population. There is more than enough blame to pass around for many things related to HIV, but the repetition of paranoid delusions that this virus was deliberately created and distributed merely clouds the discussion and keeps the real issues affecting people's lives from being recognized and taken seriously. It may sound like I'm nit picking, but this kind of charge just gives those people who are unsympathetic an excuse not to listen or care about our concerns.
Comment by: Keith (Sydney, Australia) Fri., Aug. 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm EDT
J of Boston you are right, of course, to refute the suggestion that HIV was malevolently produced by scientists. However, I wish you had also responded to the point of Pretoria's comment, namely because she is agreeing with Gerald that just because we now have meds which stop us from dying it cannot be said that "everything is OK". This is the main point, isn't it.


Comment by: Dom (London, UK.) Sat., Aug. 20, 2011 at 7:51 am EDT
Gerald, well said! Let's get a justifiably angry movement started! And may I suggest that another reason for there being no great push for a cure is that a lie is generally being ascribed to, even by some people who are themselves HIV+. This lie is that having HIV is "no big deal", that "HIV is a now a manageable condition", that people with HIV now live "totally normal lives". I recently asked one of the Experts here on The Body about such assertions and he confirmed that almost everybody living with HIV suffers (yes, the word is suffers) from side-effects of HIV medications, and that regardless of those HIV medications all HIV+ people continue to suffer from the presence of the virus, be it in the virus's quiet and silent effect upon the brain, the inflammation of internal organs, and so on. I am writing from the UK and it infuriates me to observe the HIV charities here propounding this myth that "living with HIV is no longer a great problem". All of us, all over the world, who are regularly coming to The Body with our problems ABSOLUTELY KNOW that a great lie is being perpetuated - perhaps to off-load responsibility, perhaps to try and lessen stigma, perhaps just to pretend that everything is bright and rosy. Whatever the reason, it's nothing short of a lie and a cop-out, and, you're right, we really really need to get angry about it and MAKE governments and establishments work HARD on THE cure.
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Comment by: Nik (London, UK) Thu., Aug. 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm EDT
I have had HIV since 2005 and been on treatment since 2007. I'm sick of people saying to me that no everything is ok and I shouldn't worry because it's treatable. Whilst my drug die effects are now perceptibly minimal , due to changing from the nasty Sustiva to Intelence, I still have to manage lot so health problems on a daily basis. HIV is essentially an inflammatory disease and the effects of this are constant on my whole body. So if anybody tells you that you should count yourself as lucky because of the drugs, tell them how you really feel and struggle with your health, and ask them to cease spreading the lie that HIV Meds have sorted the problem. Sure, they keep me alive but there is more to lif than that. Nothing short of a functional cure is acceptable and it's time money was seriously spent on attaining this.


Comment by: Johnathan (Atlanta, GA) Thu., Aug. 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm EDT
Every year we the AIDS walk and it has been said that each year there are less and less participants in the AIDS walk. I have thought about this and perhaps it will not come out the right way but why not change the premise or the event to WALK FOR A CURE to show yes we POS are living longer but it is not enough and its not for everyone...
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Comment by: Dom (London, UK) Sat., Aug. 20, 2011 at 8:01 am EDT
A very good idea, Johnathan. Here in the UK there is a "Walk for Life" in a number of major cities every year. The idea behind them is "to support people living with the virus in the UK". There's also an element of remembrance of those who have passed away involved as well. But I agree with you and our "Walk for Life" in the UK should be changed to "Walk for The Cure!", and while it's nice to provide people with a fun day out, with music and entertainment etc., the new walk needs to have an aspect of the rally, the protest, and the demonstration about it. But that will only happen if we expose the lie that's currently being passed around that with the coming of HIV meds our lives are now fine! We need to wake people up and get them thinking how much better things WILL be once the cure HAS BEEN FOUND.


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