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by Jeremy Hooper


Imagine waking up to this. For those of us who were pooping our diapers or were completely nonexistent on this July '81 day, it's hard to even comprehend how frightening the early days of the epidemic must've been. Even with all the marriage amendment and hate crime headlines to which we younger gays have been exposed in our lifetimes, they still don't compare to words declaring that some sort of unknown fatal disease is all of a sudden popping up within your community.

On this World AIDS Day, let's not forget the countless many who were faced with this mind-blowingly terrifying burden, the horrific likes of which would've crushed a lesser group of individuals. Let's not forget the courage they showed as they fought to raise awareness and fight stigma. Let's remember those who were lost in the battle, many of whom might've been saved if only those with the power to stem the tide of the plague would've given a damn! But most importantly, let's not forget that the battle is far from over.

AIDS is celebrating its 27th birthday. Let's do whatever we can to keep it from seeing the 30th that it robbed from so many!

December 1 is World AIDS Day. Take part in the World Community Grid. [HRC]
Today is World AIDS Day [Towle]

*SEE ALSO: Some related World AIDS Day videos

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Your thoughts

Stories, individual stories....first contact. I was a third year medical student, only 1/2 way to being a doctor in fall l984...when I was instructed to examine a patient in an exam room of my clinical mentor. A pleasant, stoic, middle-aged man with an accent and multiple purple skin lesions, weakness, fatigue. My mentor knew what he had, though he was actually the patient of his partner who had refused to see him!
Thus, I was the first person to admit a patient with AIDS to any hospital in the small city in the midewest I trained in. He fought stoically for 4 months, but finally succumbed. During his hospitalization, there was talk of a nurses strike, until the older ones remonstrated with the younger, that they had cared for both TB and polio patients without such incidents..it was their calling and in their oath to do so. By February 1985 there had been 8000 reported cases nationwide, with 100 new per week... But we all know where the numbers went from there.

I only wished for more effective medications to be able to save these wonderful lives! But we did not get them until the final part of my residency training. Finally, by starting some antibiotics early and with the early antiretrovirals produced ..(and ONLY THANKS to the unending work of ACT UP) we were able to slow the death rate...and delay to current disease suppression levels.

The fact that the NOBEL Prize for Medicine was given this year to two doctors who discovered the virus... is a very timely reminder of this 'ANNIVERSARY'.
Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier were awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine this October for discovering the HIV virus.
The two French scientists uncovered the virus in 1981 by studying lymph nodes from patients with similar symptoms. They were able to isolate viral cells by 1984. AIDS now affects an estimated...... 1% of the entire global population.

Posted by: LOrion | Dec 1, 2008 6:51:08 PM

Well, AIDS as we know it is celebrating it's 27th birthday. Didn't some scientist trace HIV in humans to decades before the 80's sometime this year?

Posted by: Michelle | Dec 2, 2008 2:30:39 PM


The estimate was pushed back to the '30s, then a couple months ago it was pushed to the beginning of the century.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Dec 2, 2008 4:30:23 PM

Hi, you have a nice site. Really good job! Respect :)

Posted by: oaycn | Dec 23, 2008 10:54:21 AM

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