June #180 : Reignite the Fight - by Regan Hofmann

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Table of Contents
 

Features

The POZ Army: How We End AIDS Together

Criminal Injustice

From the Editor

Reignite the Fight

Feedback

Letters- June 2012

The POZ Q+A

Uncommon Threads

What You Need to Know

A Graduate Degree in Condoms

The Normal Heart on Tour

A Bang for Your Buck

The Odds May Not Be in Your Favor if You Don’t Know Your Status

Further Adventures in the Origin of AIDS

We Hear You

POZ Survey Says

What Will You Do to End AIDS?

What Matters to You

The Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Treatment News

Chasing the Cure

More Black Women Die From AIDS

Can HIV-Positive People Get the Shingles Vax?

Drop Condoms on the Red Carpet, Not in Criminal Court

GMHC Treatment Issues June 2012

Comfort Zone

Mobile Health

POZ Heroes

The Artist

   
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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June 2012

Reignite the Fight

by Regan Hofmann

When exactly did those of us living with HIV stop fighting for our lives?

1996. That year, protease inhibitors hit the market, bringing people living with AIDS back from the brink of death.

Securing life-sustaining drugs was a hard-won victory. When HIV was rendered a “chronic” condition, everyone heaved a collective sigh of relief.

Regan HofmannMany people erroneously thought AIDS was over. Though the crisis didn’t end, it wasn’t out of control in quite the same way it had been. But the misperception that AIDS had become “manageable” bred dangerous complacency. The press stopped writing about it. People stopped talking about it. We stopped teaching our kids about it. We stopped protecting ourselves against it.

HIV is only “manageable” for the 6 million people with HIV who are on treatment. And manageable is a relative term. People accessing treatment still suffer from serious side effects, multiple drug resistance and non-AIDS health complications. Even for those on treatment, the risk of serious illness remains. For the other 28 million HIV-positive people worldwide—including 750,000 Americans—sickness and death will come just as they did before we had the pills. On World AIDS Day 2011, President Barack Obama pledged to put an additional 2 million people into care, bringing the global total to 8 million by 2013. But even if that target is met, 26 million lives still hang in the balance. And, every day, more become infected.

Don’t get me wrong. Treatment remains key: We must treat as many of us as we can to keep us alive while we hunt for the cure. Treating more people with HIV will help slow the spread of the virus because the drugs can simultaneously reduce the risk of transmission by up to 96 percent. Treatment will likely be part of a cure. But treatment should be a means to an end, not the endgame. The only way to truly end AIDS is to cure it.

We are closer to the cure than many think. Recent significant breakthroughs mean a cure could be found in our lifetimes. The more we invest, the greater chance we’ll live to see it.

The community of people living with HIV and our supporters must unite in battle to fight for the cure for AIDS. We must pursue it with the same ferocity as those before us fought for lifesaving treatment.

Which is why we want you, and your friends, to join the POZ Army. If we use the collective voice and power of POZ’s audience, we can reignite the fight. Turn to page 34 to find out how a rare confluence of events—the XIX International AIDS Conference and the return of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to Washington, DC, in July and the ongoing presidential race—provides a perfect storm of opportunity for our community to secure the political and financial capital we need to cure AIDS.

Back in the ’90s, several hundred members of the legendary AIDS activist group ACT UP helped save 6 million people. They did it without today’s technology and social media. With your help, the POZ Army will fight to save the remaining 28 million and counting….

Go to pozarmy.com to enlist today.

Search: President Barack Obama, POZ Army, XIX International AIDS Conference, AIDS Memorial Quilt, Washington, DC, AIDS 2012, ACT UP, protease inhibitors, PI, ide effects, multiple drug resistance, World AIDS Day

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