Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Making AIDS History - A Short Course

HIV/AIDS is not cured. Yet tremendous progress has been made in the last 25 years of tenacious research. My access to several brilliant minds behind this science hasn’t lessened the challenge of understanding the language behind their discoveries. Still, the best way to raise awareness about a complicated topic is to offer an explanation that can be understood by the masses so as I journey to Atlanta, I’ll leave you with my best attempt at compiling an HIV Progress elevator pitch. I welcome your corrections and questions which I’ll take with me to the Emory Vaccine Center gurus this weekend for some solid (albeit scientific) answers.

HIV Prevention for the HIV-free

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is the drug manufactured by Gilead as Truvada, recently approved by the FDA for those who are HIV-free and engage in risky putting them at risk of contracting HIV. If taken every day without fail, PrEP has been proven to armor the body's immune system against HIV infection and is 90% effective. This video offers a wonderfully simple explanation: 

HIV Treatment for the HIV+

For those already infected with HIV (HIV+), the antiretroviral drug treatment has been pared down to a "cocktail" of 3 drugs. By comparison, the original cocktail involved something closer to a handful of various drugs. The proper mix differs individually and must be dialed in and adjusted as monitored by a doc. With early diagnosis, easy access to consistent medical care and no missed doses, HIV can be arrested and even turned back, i.e. viral load reduced to sometimes undetectable rates.

HIV/AIDS is not cured but is especially promising right now for those who have the access, resources and determination to manage their care. The next level of research seeks to extend this promise to a broader segment of the population at risk of and infected by HIV. The road to a cure is long but the view is brighter.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Deep Gratitude

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.      -- Albert Schweitzer

The day my brother told me he had AIDS was devastating. The day he died changed my life. I like to think his spark led me to pick up a bicycle but it was each of you who fanned the flame in me and in HIV/AIDS labs nationwide that ignite hope in countless people affected by HIV/AIDS. Thank you for replacing my grief on this and every day with such deep, deep gratitude and exhilarating hope for an AIDS-free world.