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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Millions of people: Martin Delaney and AIDS Activism

In the early 1980s, several of his friends became infected with HIV, and died of AIDS. Though he himself was never HIV-positive, their deaths drew Martin Delaney into the AIDS movement.

When he heard about a cold remedy, ribavirin, that was being smuggled from Mexico because it had been found to strengthen the immune system, Martin made several runs to Tijuana to get some. Soon after, he decided he could be more effective by taking political action.

He launched Project Inform, which started "medically supervised guerilla trials" – community-based studies of the safety and efficacy of drugs that did not have federal approval. It sponsored town-hall-style informational meetings around the country, and set up a national AIDS-treatment hot line.

He "challenged the research and pharmaceutical community in the earliest years of the AIDS epidemic to consult with HIV-positive patients and their advocates" about treatment options, in the words of Project Inform's current executive director, Dana Van Gorder.

Martin died on Friday at age 63, of liver cancer. Just before he died, he received the Director's Special Recognition Award for "extraordinary contributions to framing the HIV research agenda" from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

NIH Director Antony Fauci, MD, said, "Millions of people are now receiving life-saving antiretroviral medications from a treatment pipeline that Marty Delaney played a key role in opening and expanding."

Advice: Like Martin, live a life of political action to help your sick friends.

Read a very different activist’s story.

Thanks to Dennis Hevesi for the source article in yesterday's issue of the New York Times.

1 comment:

paul said...

lots of interesting stuff. My book coversseveral attempts at new treatments of several things. Title; MY WHOLE LIFE AND 48 YEARS OF SMALL TOWN FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE, COVERS A LOTS OF HUMOROUS AND OCCASIONAL SAD SITUATIONS AND PATIENT'S INTERESTING QUOTES. IN PUBLICATION NOW , OUT SOON. PUBLISHER: ELOQUENT bOOKS. PAUL T.