May #47 : The Way We Live Now: Mario Cooper

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A POZ Family Album

POZ 5TH Anniversary Issue: Year One

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The Way We Live Now

The Way We Live Now: Andrew Sullivan

The Way We Live Now: Jocelyn Elders

The Way We Live Now: Mary Lucey

The Way We Live Now: Rafael Campo

The Way We Live Now: Mathilde Krim

The Way We Live Now: Mario Cooper

The Way We Live Now: Richard Goldstein

The Way We Live Now: Phill Wilson

The Way We Live Now: Michael Saag

The Way We Live Now: David Ho

The Way We Live Now: Jon Kaiser

The Way We Live Now: Sarah Schulman

The Way We Live Now: Judy Greenspan

The Way We Live Now: Eric Rofes & Dan Savage

The Way We Live Now: Kaiya Montaocean

The Way We Live Now: Ashok Row Kavi

The Way We Live Now: Pat Califia

The Way We Live Now: Asia Russell & Julie Davids

The Way We Live Now: Dennis DeLeon

The Way We Live Now: Jason Farrell

The Way We Live Now: Pernessa Seele

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T-20, Coming to a Combo Near You

Pill Drill

Suck in Your Gut

Put the Gart Before the Course

Where to Find It

The Skinny on Lipo


The Road to Wellville


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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May 1999

The Way We Live Now: Mario Cooper

Founder, Leading For Life

Remembrances, anniversaries, even memorial services produce conflicting emotions for me. I struggle, especially at AIDS events, to maintain a proper balance between solemnity and optimism. My family owns a funeral home that serves the black community in Mobile, Alabama, so I grew up with exposure to death. Like the Irish, African Americans have made an art of celebrating life after a funeral: food, drink and small talk at wakes and afterward are a rite of passage for those mourning.

While we are sadly a long way from "waking" AIDS, we should respect and celebrate the gay community's response to the epidemic. For example, under ACT UP's visionary leadership and aggressive action, patients now have a voice in the approval process for new drugs, and the FDA approval procedure is now significantly shorter. The important Ryan White CARE Act, initially created to provide limited assistance to mostly urban areas disproportionately impacted by AIDS, is another example of success.

Thousands of HIV-impacted families walk through the doors of AIDS service centers every day. Thousands receive food provided, packed and delivered by gay people. Over the past 20 years, thousands of us have volunteered at "buddy" programs, testing centers and counseling sites. Additionally, we have forever changed the public health approach to prevention, as activists insured that prevention campaigns were based on input from the affected communities. That had the effect of decreasing HIV infection rates among gay men.

I am mystified that these accomplishments are not more acknowledged. We must recognize our successes. Failure to do so diminishes them and undercuts our shared commitment to end this horrid epidemic for the entire world.

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