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David Furnish: We Are Greater Than AIDS

Philanthropist (and famous husband!) David Furnish reflects on three decades of life around the world with HIV/AIDS. He wrote this article for the March/April 2011 issue of HIV Plus Mag.

This year marks 30 years since the discovery of the first case of what was later identified as AIDS. With that news, our lives and relationships as gay men were forever altered. We witnessed an unthinkable tragedy that has taken the lives of more than a quarter million of our gay and bisexual friends and lovers.

In the face of this devastation leaders emerged. The crisis helped to shape our community’s political agenda, and it provided a platform around which gay leaders could advocate for rights and equality. We realized that if we informed ourselves and acted on what we learned, we could be greater than the disease. Thanks to the efforts of gay men and our allies, our community saw a dramatic decline in new infections by the late 1980s.

Many of us can look back with immense pride at the collective response in those early years. The availability of effective combination drug therapies in 1996 fundamentally changed how we thought about HIV. No longer was HIV the death sentence it had once been. We had new hope. For many, HIV was a manageable chronic disease. Many of us turned our attention to marriage equality, adoption rights, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and other pressing issues facing our community. While we broadened our focus, AIDS did not.

Read the full article via HIV PLUS MAG