DAVE ROSS

Mayfield: More hope now than ever for cure to decades-long epidemic

Dec 1, 2021, 6:48 AM | Updated: 10:55 am
World AIDS Day...
The White House commemorates World AIDS Day. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Written by Travis Mayfield, filling in this week for Dave Ross on Seattle’s Morning News

How do we live like this? So many deaths? When will this be over? How long do we have to keep wearing these things?

Sound familiar? Like conversations at work or with friends for the last few months amid the ongoing COVID pandemic? Those are things I’ve been saying to friends and loved ones for decades, since the day I came out as gay.

Today is World AIDS Day, and this year marks 40 years since the CDC first reported five deaths attributed to what would later become known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

The reaction at the time? White House Press Secretary Larry Speakes laughed after a reporter asked him about it in 1982, flippantly calling it the “gay plague.”

It took five years before a sitting president acknowledged AIDS publicly. It took many more years before it became more than a punch line to bigoted jokes for millions.

Thirty-two million people have died from AIDS, and 38 million are currently living with it. It’s no joke.

But there is more hope now than ever. With medication, you can live HIV positive and not fear death or spreading death. There’s also a daily pill you can take to prevent being infected. On Monday, GlaxosmithKline executives publicly vowed they would have a cure by “2030 if not sooner.”

How do we live like this? When will this be over?

If we keep wearing these things, trust science, and live with more empathy, the answer might be here soon.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Mayfield: More hope now than ever for cure to decades-long epidemic