Yesterday, yet another friend and colleague died of AIDS. Linda Grinberg, who ran the Foundation for AIDS and Immune Research, died in her sleep of a heart attack brought on by primary pulmonary hypertension, which she developed a year ago. PPH is a rare cardiac phenomenon, but can be brought on by HIV and/or medications. Linda was a fearless AIDS treatment activist who had faced death many times since her T-cells plummeted to 30 in 1995. As a straight woman, a child of Hollywood, its wealth and privilege, living in a swanky suburb of L.A., she didn't need to devote her time or her money to pushing for new treatments for HIV. But she did so with a determination that belied her failing health. She was the driving force behind the Coalition for Salvage Therapy, pushing for faster access to new antiretroviral agents, and the Structured Treatment Interruptions workshops, which brought together top researchers to figure out if these stops and starts in therapy could have some benefit, or at least do no harm. The last time I saw her was at the last STI meeting this Spring. After it was over, Linda, Martin Delaney, Mark Harrington and I went up to her room to watch the Academy Awards. Linda's father was the owner of the biggest film library in Hollywood. Linda was trying to pick out the footage from his stash in the film retrospective that opened the awards. I left after a few Oscars. I would have lingered if I knew it was the last time I would see Linda. With Fred Gormley's death; the death of my friend, Frank Moore; and Indian AIDS activist, Ashok Pillai, I know four people who have died of AIDS in the past month. Fred, Frank and Linda ran out of therapeutic options and had to face the virus without effective medicine. Ashok died of toxoplasmosis, which is a preventable opportunistic infection.
Someone tell me again that HIV/AIDS is a chronic yet manageable disease.
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