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On-the-Air: My First Radio Interview -- "Have You Heard of HIV Long-Term Nonprogressor?"

By Loreen Willenberg

February 7, 2011

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In my quest to maintain the HIV Controller and Long-Term Nonprogressor topic in the public view, I gratefully accepted an invitation from a business associate for an interview that was broadcast live December 9, 2010, on the community-supported radio station KKUP 91.5 FM, based out of San Jose, California. The program, called 'Discovery', is a production of Cultural Media Services (CMS), a California-based nonprofit organization, founded by my host (and Zephyr LTNP Foundation paralegal), Mr. Josh Wagner.

Josh asks thoughtful questions throughout the hour-long interview and, with Bob Marley tunes as a backdrop (great choice, Josh!), we discuss a wide range of subjects that include basic information on how HIV works to dismantle the human immune system, how our immune systems fight infection, current therapies and novel approaches to therapies, therapeutic vaccine development, the recent revival of the 'cure' word, information on recent discoveries related to protective genetic markers and other control mechanisms within the HIV Controller and/or Long-Term Nonprogressor community, and the 'functional cure' we represent. At the end, I share the collective hope of my unique 'tribe' to contribute to the end of the AIDS epidemic. Originally entitled "Have You Heard of HIV Long-Term Nonprogressor?", this interview will be re-broadcast at noon on March 10, 2011, under the title "Have You Heard of HIV Controller?", in honor of the sixth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Since its formation in 1985, CMS has served as a fiscal sponsor for a variety of projects, produced and aired hundreds of educational radio programs in 15 U.S. cities and has produced 90 television interviews. CMS's broadcasts address a variety of fields, including complimentary medicine and health, human psychology, sexuality and gender issues, and other areas, such as the arts, social movements and technology, to name a few. As a nonprofit, CMS does not have the funds to support the posting of this interview as content on their website. Josh and I appreciate the generous support of to post the audio file of this interview (see above) to reach out to you, our reader. We hope you enjoy it.

With best wishes for a special New Year,


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See Also
More Personal Stories of HIV Long-Term Nonprogressors


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BLOG: Life as an Elite Controller

Loreen Willenberg

Loreen Willenberg
Photo credit: Bob Roehr

Loreen Willenberg, a resident of California, has survived HIV infection since 1992. She is part of a tiny group of people with HIV that scientists call "elite controllers." What is an elite controller? It's someone with HIV who has never had a detectable viral load, although they have never taken HIV meds. She also has an astonishingly high CD4 count and has never experienced any adverse health effects from HIV. Loreen considers it her responsibility as an elite controller to help other people with HIV, which is why she's currently participating in three clinical studies in which researchers are trying to understand how people like Loreen actually control the virus. In fact, she's created a new organization for people like her called the Zephyr Foundation.

More About Zephyr (PDF)

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