May 2, 2011
AIDSmeds founder, crystal-kicker, ex-Wall Streeter, positive for 28 years.
June 5, 2011, marks 30 years since the first published accounts of what
became known as AIDS. For this anniversary, we asked 31 long-term
survivors who’ve appeared in POZ what
moves and sustains them and whether they think they’ll live to see a
cure. Why 31? One for each year, and one more for good luck.
What’s the most helpful thing anyone has said to you over your years living with HIV?
Shortly after I was diagnosed in 1985, my closest friend and former piano teacher, Ben Whitten, happened to call, and I told him the frightening news. After a long pause, he said, “Well OK then, are you leaving me your grand piano?” A dark sense of humor can add years to your life.
What change or development in your treatment for HIV has most affected your life—for better or worse?
Not even close—the advent of HAART changed the lives of anyone still living with HIV in 1996. We went from never thinking beyond a few years to imagining the prospect of our retirement years.
Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime—and if so, will you benefit from it?
Yes to both.
Possibly within 10 years we’ll have at least a “functional cure,” like a therapeutic vaccine or gene therapy that keeps the virus in check.
What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed?
Don’t live in an HIV closet. While it might help you prevent some brief, hard moments, it’s a form of self-loathing that will always keep you from living life to the fullest.
to read this article as it
appeared in the June 2011 issue.
read more of our "30 Years of AIDS" coverage.
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