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June 24th, 2013

A Cure for AIDS: The HIV Advocates Turning Hope into Action

My first “AIDS job” in 1987 was at the first AIDS organization in Los Angeles, LA Shanti, and we provided emotional support to clients with AIDS who were usually in their last weeks of life. The intimacy our trained volunteers experienced with the dying, helping them find some inner peace as they left us, is worthy of its own blog posting sometime. Let’s just say it was intense.

We hoped for a cure early on, and then our hope faded. Before long, we didn’t dare hope any longer. We just wanted treatment to ease the suffering and slow the dying, and those prayers were answered in 1996 with the advent of protease inhibitors. It seemed greedy to tempt the fates and begin asking for a total cure again.

But greed isn’t what is driving the treatment advocates you are about to meet in my latest video blog. Far from it. They have faith, based on scientific research and some hopefulness of their own, that a cure for HIV disease can be found. And they care enough about our community to keep pressing the issue at HIV research conferences.

They are cautiously optimistic. But their faith is contagious, if you’ll pardon the choice of words. And they also know that that we got protease inhibitors because of the same kind of tireless community efforts that they are displaying now.

In fact, one can easily connect the dots from the activists shown in the Oscar nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague to this current crop of treatment advocates who are trying to take HIV research across the finish line.

You can take part in all of this, of course. To volunteer for a clinical trial or see what might be happening in your area, visit ResearchMatch.org or ClinicalTrials.gov. If you’d like to join the advocates in their work or follow their progress more closely, check out the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition.

I’d like to thank the always resourceful Nelson Vergel for gaining me access to a gathering of these community activists. For updates of current cure research, Nelson has excellent posts on TheBody.com like this one.

I’d like to thank those who participated on-camera: Jeff Berry from Positively Aware, Jeff Taylor of the AIDS Treatment Activism Coalition, Moises Agosto of the National Minority AIDS Council, Steven Wakefield of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, David Evans of Project Inform, and poz activists Mark Hubbard and Matt Sharp.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

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6 Responses to “A Cure for AIDS: The HIV Advocates Turning Hope into Action”

  1. Matt Sharp Says:

    June 24th, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Mark-
    Congrats on an excellent succinct video. This is they type of format we really need to bring everyone up to speed.
    Thank you!!

  2. Denise Says:

    June 25th, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Well i sincerly hope they do find a cure and im sure it will b sooner rather than later.I at one point said id have chemo to burn it out even though its been undetectable for over10 years now itwould b nice not to take pills every day.I support all the reseasrchers in their hard work..

  3. Bob Munk Says:

    June 25th, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Mark, thanks for this video!

  4. robert allen Says:

    June 25th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    great info…..i’ve had aids since 1987 and always told myself i would live to see a cure……..it’s looking up…. thanx

  5. HIV/AIDS Cure: When and What? | Im Still Josh | HIV Blog | HIV Positive ActivistIm Still Josh | HIV Blog | HIV Positive Activist Says:

    July 17th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    [...] in and discuss the timeline and the exact nature of a cure for HIV/AIDS. Read the entire blog here or watch the video [...]

  6. Colin Steele Says:

    August 31st, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    HI Mark,

    Just found this video. I’ve avoided reading about a cure since my diagnosis as I find it kind of depressing. I have hope that a cure will be found some day but I am not going to expect it any time soon.

    I’ll happily life my life as it is, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

    Thanks for the upload.

    Colin

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