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Achieving AIDS-Free Generation Worth More Than Olympic Gold

In this post in Huffington Post’s “Healthy Living” blog, John-Manuel Andriote, a journalist and author living with HIV, writes, “For all of us living with HIV infection — Oct. 27 will mark seven years since my own diagnosis — the question we face daily, hopefully more consciously and deliberately than most, is how shall we live, knowing as we do that we will most assuredly die one day?” Reflecting on the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) that took place in Washington last month, he continues, “An AIDS-free generation is certainly a worthy goal,” but “even if tens of billions of additional dollars are allocated to address HIV/AIDS, even if the Republicans don’t succeed in inflicting their Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ upon the nation and the world, the question will continue to be what it has been for 31 years … Will we have the political will to end AIDS?”

Andriote highlights achievements made under PEPFAR, noting “the U.S. government’s global initiative and the largest health initiative in history now provides antiretroviral medication to nearly four million people worldwide,” and compares this to the United States. Noting that the opening ceremonies of the Olympics coincided with the final day of the AIDS 2012 conference, he asks, “How shall we live, knowing the time of youthful athletic prowess is brief, knowing, as HIV/AIDS reminds us, that life is fragile, precious and short?” Andriote concludes, “For me, in my life, with my time, I choose not to be a victim. Instead, I choose — and will continue to urge others — to join the band of warriors who work tirelessly to defend life. It alone is worth far more than gold” (8/13).