March #186 : Farewell, Friend - by Peter Staley and Tim Horn

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Table of Contents


Achieving the End

Falling Through the Cracks

From the Editor

Let's Stay Together


Letters-March 2013


Opening New Doors

POZ Planet

Turn Up the Music


Country Remedy

Promoting PrEP

Native Talents

Bare Facts

All Dolled Up

Tickled Pink


The 360 Approach

Care and Treatment

See You in Six Months?

Studying Risk Factors for Mental Decline

Implementing Health Care Reform

Pregnant Women Struggling With Adherence

GMHC Treatment Issues March 2013

HPV Vaccine May Benefit Women With HIV

Research Notes

Prevention: Latino Epidemic Varies by Region

Treatment: Atripla vs. Stribild and Complera

Cure: A Cat-and-Mouse Vaccine Game

Concerns: Ex-Inmates Aren’t Retained in Care

POZ Survey Says

Listen to Your Heart

POZ Heroes

Farewell, Friend

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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March 2013

Farewell, Friend

by Peter Staley and Tim Horn

Spencer Cox

Neither of us is exactly a stranger to death. But this one—the passing of our cherished friend and comrade Spencer Cox on December 18, 2012—cut us deeply and painfully. It was so stunningly premature and, indeed, senseless.

It was often easy to forget how young Spencer really was. As a brilliant-beyond-his-years twentysomething, he single-handedly took on the HIV research establishment, including many seasoned activists, to ensure that our desperation for novel antiretrovirals didn’t cloud our need for sound, scientific data ensuring their effectiveness. Spencer was also renowned for his crotchety and sardonic wit that always made him seem decades older than he actually was.

But it wasn’t just a driven genius and entertaining “old queen” we watched die on that Tuesday morning in a New York hospital from complications of overwhelming pneumonia, undoubtedly made worse by an astonishingly low CD4 cell count. It was a young man, only 44 years old, with so much potential as an extraordinarily gifted writer, an advocate for health care and economic equality, a cultural critic and a social networking legend.

If, and to what extent, Spencer’s struggles with mental health, poor treatment adherence and meth addiction contributed to his untimely death, we will never fully know. Like most of us, he hid his demons well. But he spoke out often about the post-traumatic stress disorder survivors of the early AIDS years often suffer.

We therefore honor Spencer with a recommitment to activism—not just to continue fighting like hell for the science and policy we need to end this epidemic once and for all, but to become increasingly cognizant of the intense social and emotional struggles so many of us living with the virus continue to face.

Spencer, may your magnificent light forever help illuminate the darkness in our own lives and that of our community.

Editor's note: This article has been updated

Search: Spencer Cox, memorial, AIDS activism, HIV research

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