Due to the menace caused by AIDS, it was imperative that a gigantic initiative taken and so 'CNN Presents' and the Clinton Global Initiative teamed up to bring together some of the world's leading AIDS experts and activists. The idea behind this exercise was to find ways to fight and combat this killer.
To involve the people CNN.com asked readers for their comments on how AIDS has affected their lives.
AdvertisementThose moving and sleep jolting stories are presented below:
Kristan, Kettering, Ohio writes about the tragic death of her uncle due to AIDS. Speaking of praises about her uncle she said that he was the bond of their family. In her own words, 'I remember being 13 and my mom coming into my room and collapsing on the floor when she got the call. No one is the same. Most of us went on anti-depressants or alcohol. Living with the death of such an exquisite human being killed us all inside. He was an actor, a real estate agent, and a fantastic brother and uncle. He wanted children of his own but knew it wasn't possible. He died way too young. And that's my AIDS story.'
Expressing the pain of a mother Linda, Atlanta, Georgia says that her son was diagnosed several years ago as HIV positive. We come from an upper middle class background. I look at the way AIDS has become a disease that affects all. Just as we have an obligation to support countries that are victims of genocide, so should we support the hungry and those suffering from AIDS. she said.
As a ray of light and hope comes the story of Michael, Los Angeles, California. He says that he is one of the fortunate ones -- a long-term survivor, benefiting from the cocktail. It has been a blessing, but not without its challenges. People dealing with AIDS deal with significant stigma attached to the disease. It's not like having another chronic condition like diabetes. It has affected my career, family and social life. There needs to be a cure, not just a treatment!,is his opinion.
A heart wrenching story yet so common in youngsters is the story told by Tarynn, Dallas, Texas In her words, 'My story is fairly short but, unfortunately, all too common.
My best friend's boyfriend was diagnosed with hepatitis C, and after a week my friend stopped by his doctor's office on his way to the airport to leave for vacation on Wednesday.
The following Tuesday, I got his call on my cell phone. Knowing it was time for him to return, I answered with a cheery, Welcome home!
All I could hear on the other end were heartbreaking sobs. I knew who it was but I didn't know why. He finally choked out the words, 'I got it.'
'Got what?' I asked, patiently, but the cold knot of fear was already solidifying. 'Hep C?'
'No, I got IT!' he wailed, and my own life changed with the icy splinters of HIV in the middle of a gorgeous day in May, just one year ago.
To this day, I still recall the coldness, gut-wrenching helplessness, fear, sadness, guilt and distance I felt, knowing my friend of more than 10 years may likely not see the end of another decade.
However, there have been some good results. He's one of the lucky ones -- he has a good job with full benefits and can afford the quarterly testing and monthly prescriptions and weekly counseling sessions. He also found out very early, within months. Unlike others, he will have a chance to fight back.
Still, it was a needless thing. It only took once. Meanwhile, his former partner was lucky to have only caught hepatitis C.
It's been a wrenching experience for him and for me over the last year, but it has had some benefit. My friend will graduate college this summer. He's finally getting help for the depression that's chased him for years.
For me, the biggest change has been the realization that time is precious and there isn't enough. I'm going to grad school now, taking an active role in my career and trying to enjoy life more.
So, it was the worst of times, but we've both made the best of it. I truly believe we will find a cure or other way to end HIV and AIDS. I can only hope it comes in time, so I won't need to attend my best friend's funeral.
Mr. Clinton, thank you for your help by raising awareness of this critical issue.'
Praising the efforts of this initiative writes Lisa, Baltimore, Maryland
'I am a young physician working in Africa on HIV care and research. I love what I do, and American taxpayers make it possible. Americans should know how successfully their tax dollars are being spent saving lives and bringing hope all over the world through PEPFAR (the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief). In a time of much bad news about America's role in the world, coverage of the good that America is doing in the global AIDS fight should be a priority.'
This it is time we all woke up to this menace and fight it with al our means to save pur future generations from this deadly disease.