Aug 10, 2011 5:49 PM GMT
For 30 years we have struggled with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and millions of men, women and children have put their heart and souls into the fight against AIDS with hope to one day find a cure. The leading cure-focused organization, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, has accelerated advanced research over the last 25 years by bringing researchers together to collaboratively move the needle forward. Five years ago a cure was thought unrealistic, a fantasy, but now amfAR has allowed us to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
To mark the milestone of 25 years of research that has saved lives and opened the door not only to preventive measures, but to the ultimate cure as well, amfAR is launching a new website and Public Service Announcement that gives insight into the personal stories of those whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS:
The two-minute PSA profiles five individuals and one family with personal stories of hope and progress—emphasizing the impact that the last 25 years of research has made for each person and on the lives of Americans everywhere. In addition to the PSA, the website features longer in-depth interviews with each of the individuals in the PSA. New profiles and stories of the diverse faces fighting on the frontlines to Make AIDS History will be regularly added to the website.
Meredith Family, Louisville, KY – A mother contracted HIV and passed it to her two children during childbirth unknowingly. Miraculously, her husband is negative, but the family has had lived through some trying moments – both kids “grew up on death row” battling extreme bouts of illness. Now healthy, the family maintains a positive outlook and seeks to help others – they even adopted an AIDS orphan from Ethiopia.
Christina, Indianapolis, IN – Christina is a young woman that was infected with HIV at birth and endured a rough childhood full of illness after illness. As a rebellious teenager at one point she refused to take her medication, which resulted in a full-blown AIDS diagnosis. Now, Christina is a mother of a healthy HIV-negative baby and lives a life full of hope and discovery.
David, Chicago, IL – David is a young man that never thought he would ever contract a disease like HIV. However, his ignorance was challenged when he contracted it through unprotected sex. David almost ended his life the same night of his diagnosis, but fate has turned his devastating diagnosis into a powerful advocacy-driven voice for all those living with HIV/AIDS. David refuses to stand idly by as those infected are stigmatized and repressed.
Lonny, Columbus, OH – Lonny did not want to go through the same abuse and neglect he witnessed his partner suffer from during his AIDS treatment – or lack thereof (at a time when nurses were scared to touch people living with HIV). Instead he wanted to die with dignity and thus opted out of treatment for more than 10 years. After realizing he wasn’t going to die immediately and a sickly stay at the hospital, he decided to seek treatment and be a voice for all those that had suffered like his partner had.
Maria, New York City, NY – Once a successful hip-hop promoter, Maria’s life was turned upside-down when she was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. Three years later she was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS and now serves as an HIV/AIDS activist and national spokesperson for World AIDS Day. Maria is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree and has lived healthily with AIDS for more than 10 years.
Oriol, Hoboken, NJ – Upon his HIV diagnosis, Oriol once thought that no one would love him again. However, through the love and support of family and friends he turned his negative feelings into passion for advocacy. He has lived with HIV for more than two decades and currently serves as the deputy editor at POZ.