The July/August 2010 issue of POSITIVELY AWARE was terrific. Dr. Wohl’s review of the “when-to-start?” question was nicely done and the editorials from Wohl, Dr. Gallant, Bob Huff and others provided some fresh perspectives I hadn’t yet considered. Whatever START’s answers, however, we face even bigger challenges: getting HIV-positive people tested and into care earlier (too many are being diagnosed with CD4s in the double digits) and ensuring that everyone in the U.S. who requires HIV treatment has access to it, regardless of ability to pay.
Jeff, your summary of the FDA advisory committee tesamorelin hearing was spot on. If it wasn’t for the testimony of people living with HIV, I don’t know if the drug would have been recommended for approval. As you point out, this is a very real example of community advocacy at work and evidence that just a few people can make important things happen for the rest of us. Congratulations and thank you.
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I just finished reading the article “On the Front Line” by Enid Vázquez and found it to touch on subjects that sometimes get overlooked in the community.
When some (at least I and some friends of mine) were first diagnosed almost 20 years ago, there was the feeling that you were worthless and practically dead and that was the feeling that society gave off. In her article, she touched on the subjects of having to re-wire and respect yourself, with which I could not agree more. From many years of re-wiring, I now feel that I am someone of worth, with many accomplishments that I thought I would never be able to finish, and I’ve seen many things that I would have never been able to see. Post re-wiring (in a sense), I made changes to my life which involved taking better care of myself both physically and mentally.
I think back to one of my favorite movies that dealt with HIV and its stigma, entitled “An Early Frost.” When the star (Aidan Quinn) told his grandmother about his status and she went to kiss him, he pulled back—then she uttered the most thought-provoking line which gets me through and helped me re-wire myself. The line was, “HIV is a disease, not a disgrace.”
That line has stuck with me for many years and is a reminder that I am of worth. Thanks, Enid, for the reminder after reading that article. I truly enjoyed it and keep being inspired.
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