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Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Nest: Birds gotta fly!




I first began writing Red Ribbon Diaries over a decade ago, when my children were young. I was a brand-new adoptive mom navigating life, career, and family. When I think back to those early days and all we've gone through I sometimes I wonder how we made it. There is a reason I've not written a memoir. It's  painful to go back to those days when my family's future hung by a thread. In those early days, as a way to cope, I learned a wonderful skill called living in the moment. I also dreamt a lot of how I wanted things to be. Dreaming is a mighty powerful tool. Never underestimate a dream. Or the power of a "moment" for that matter. Back in the late nineties and early 2000's, with the frightening prospect of AIDS looming over our heads, I lived not for the future, but for the day, the hour, but for the most part, I lived in the moment.  Oh, how I cherished each minute with my then young children! The here and the now were my focus. Back then, shortly after my children and I were diagnosed with the unthinkable, we lived each day as if it were a miracle. And indeed, looking back, it was a miracle.

In this blog, I share some of our moments and miracles. Moments, as difficult as they were, that changed our family for the better.  Moments that ultimately make up a lifetime of love and triumph over a disease that has taken far too many lives. In this blog, I share our coming out as a family struggling with HIV, and possibly our most decision, to speak out about our disease, a decision that became paramount to my family's well-being. Back in 1996, I have to be honest, there weren't too many families like ours. I was terrified that one day our small community would learn the truth. I remembered Ryan White and the terrible fuss and heartbreak that he endured following his willingness to share his story of living with HIV/AIDS. I was afraid the same might happen to my babies. I almost let fear win. But ultimately, to live in fear or shame is no way to live at all. We decided to come out, and we decided to come out big.

I remember sitting with a counselor at St. Jude Children's Hospital. A wonderful woman. Smart, kind, with strawberry blonde lashes sprinkled above blue eyes. Chris was also one tough cookie.  If my spine weak, hers was quite the opposite. She was strong and sure, and back then as confident as I could only one day dream of being. We all could use a Chris. Nervous wrecks, all of us were. Clay, me the kids, all sitting in her office, pondering what to do. We'd just adopted Yonas. We now had three children with HIV in the school system. Yonas wanted to play soccer. The world was moving fast. Shouldn't we tell the coach, just in case? But then what if one of the parents found out? What if the whole school found out? What the hell were we going to do? Chris looked at me, with those piercing blue eyes and she didn't mince words. "If you're going to come out," she said, "Then you'd better come out big. That'll stop all the rumors and kids talking about it behind their backs."  Chris's words changed the course. In that moment, sitting in her office at St. Jude, I decided to do something different. I decided to be brave, and damn, if it didn't feel good.

I remember looking at her and just knowing how much my kids meant to her. That day in Chris's office something inside me clicked. Chris had given me a compass, a direction in which to guide my children safely ashore. We had to be brave. We decided Chris was right. We came out big. When Good Morning America called, we said, yes. And when  POZ Magazine wanted to feature our story in the January/February issue, I said yes, with one stipulation. I wanted to be the one to write it. There just wasn't another person in the world I trusted to write about my children and our struggles. I was delighted when the beautiful editor of POZ Magazine, Regan Hoffman said yes, I could write our story. At that time, besides a small run or two of fiction for a college magazine, this was my first published piece. That story is here on this blog and it was that little story that helped us come out to our community and our friends.

Those days after our disclosure, for the first time in years, I felt free! Free from the shame and secret of having contracted the disease as a young woman from a boy who (like me) probably never even knew he had it. Free is a good way to live.

Today, my children are wonderful and healthy. My youngest is sixteen and my adult children are navigating the world on their own and doing fantastic. I'm looking forward to watching their future come to fruition, as well as unleashing some dreams of my own, and yet being my children's mom will always be the single most important thing that I've ever done. Each day a gift that I've not for one second taken for granted. I've been blessed with chocolate face kisses, sticky high-fives from a jelly-fingered two-year-old, bleacher-butt, gray hairs, late night, teenage hellion, God-loving, walking down the aisle, tears in my eyes OMG that beautiful bride is my daughter...moments. Thank you, God, for those moments!

As of this day in 2018 I do believe we've come full-circle. Should your path lead you here, you'll find many stories, some happy and some sad, about my family and about my life.  HIV isn't an easy disease to bear at any age, let alone grow up with, and this blog became a wonderful place for me to share our story. This blog gave me a voice--a place to laugh, and even cry if I needed to, but perhaps most importantly, this blog became a source of education and inspiration to many. The letters and support that have poured in over the years have meant so much to our family. Thank you for your kindness and love all these years. 

I'm going to close with a favorite quote by Willa Cather. "Where there is great love, there are always miracles." I believe that, friends.

Sincerely,

Suzan

Suzan J. Meredith is an author, advocate, and 32-year survivor of HIV.  Suzan's short stories, essays, and creative non-fiction have appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Adoption Today MagazineRAWThe Huffington Post, and others. Suzan is currently writing a novel. For updates and news visit Suzan on Facebook .







Sunday, January 1, 2017

World AIDS Day 2017



I get pretty emotional when I think about the early days. They were difficult. The medicines were many and they came with side-effects. Today, things are good, but they can still be better.

This World AIDS Day I am thankful for so many things, but I am especially thankful for the many doctors and researchers out there who are working to end HIV/AIDS, and mother to infant transmission all around the world. They are true rock stars in my eyes.

Hold on to hope. Educate yourself. Get tested. Get involved, and perhaps most of all BELIEVE that we will one day see the cure for AIDS.

To learn more, tune to WNYC The Takeaway (9:30am today) to listen to myself and leading pediatric expert Dr. Donna Futterman talk about recent advances made in the treatment and prevention of pediatric AIDS.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

To Test or Not To Test...THAT is the question.

My husband took an HIV test today. 
Testing Guidelines 

This coming March my husband and I will have been married for twenty-nine years. This isn't his first test. To err on the side of caution, I ask him to take an HIV test every few years. In case you didn't already know, I'm HIV positive and my husband is not. I often say that it's not the people with HIV you need to worry about, it's the ones that don't know their status that are cause for concern. Why? Because not only is knowing your HIV status vital but also the best way to prevent the spread of HIV.  In fact, HIV is totally preventable. 


It gets better. Did you know that taking an HIV test can be as easy as going to your local drugstore? 

It's true. It's never been easier to test yourself for HIV and you can have your results in as little as twenty minutes, in the privacy of your own home. Really. READ DIRECTIONS, SWAB GUMS.

AND Twenty minutes later...
My husband's result is NEGATIVE!

So what if your result comes back positive, you ask? A positive result is not the end of the world. Today, antiviral medications drive the virus to undetectable levels. I'm proof that with good medical care you can live a normal, healthy life and pose no risk of infecting your partner. Yes, you can have sex. You can even have a healthy child, if you choose. The only thing better would be a cure, and even that's not as far fetched as we once believed. So be brave. Take the test. 

To learn more about mixed status couples, HIV prevention and pregnancy visit: https://www.avert.org/learn-share/hiv-fact-sheets/mixed-status-couples





Wednesday, March 16, 2016

God's Plan + Cardio


I counted the years yesterday and it's mind-blowing. I've been a mom for over half of my life! And the real kicker? I'm almost fifty and have a fourteen-year-old. Enough to make your gills quiver, isn't it?  

But seriously, every child needs a parent, biological or adopted, to love them unconditionally, and I knew I could do that. I've always loved being a mom, and a wife. That's what makes me the happiest in life. 

The thing that makes me the most unhappy is the worry that came with being a parent. Even before I was diagnosed with HIV, I remember feeling this sense of urgency that I just HAD to survive, HAD to be there to raise my children. Then there were the dark years, after my children and I were diagnosed, where I just hoped to live long enough to see them through--whatever God's plan.

HIV was quite the curve ball. Good thing I have the husband, family, and friends that I do. They carried me through those difficult days and for that I'm forever grateful. 

So what do you do when life throws a curve ball? I'd like to think that I'm an expert by now. I'm not. But I am a good study, and I have picked up some valuable tools along the way. They are:

1. In all things be brave, honest, and kind.

2. There is no substitute for prayer. 

3. A little laughter goes a very long way.

4. Love will conquer everything.

5. Don't sweat the small stuff. 


Today, I aspire to see my children through to a cure and science is backing me up. I will, one day, see my babies (now 25, 20, and 14) HIV-free! This calls for a high round of cardio, am I right? 

So long for now. Putting on my snazzy Nikes and off to conquer a hill or two... Whatever it takes. 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day


This coming March 10th will mark the tenth annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Women and Girls, can I get a s-h-o-u-t? In case you didn't know, women and girls aren't the only ones affected by HIV. I'm being facetious. While women with HIV were once considered the minority, AIDSgov states that white, heterosexual women now account for about 20 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States, and those numbers are growing.   

I can remember vividly the first time I heard the word AIDS. It was 1985. I was nineteen and attending hair school in Southern California when one of my friends, a student named Trenton, sat down with me at a picnic table for lunch. He was drinking a soda, and when I reached to take a sip, he pulled the soda can from my hand. "You can't drink after me, anymore. I have AIDS," he said. I didn't know what AIDS was, but by the look on his face, I knew it was bad. A few weeks later, my friend Trenton quit hair school and moved away. I never saw him again.

There are two words that I don't use and one of them is hate, but I hate AIDS. 

For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, you and I already know that HIV/AIDS affects us all. So, what I'd like to say, on this (almost) National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, is thank you. Thank you for remembering me and giving we ladies a s-h-o-u-t to help raise HIV/AIDS Awareness, and whoever you are--gay, straight, black, white, man, woman, or child--we are in this together. Be well. Be Strong. Be SAFE. 

Here's a list of HIV/AIDS Awareness Days that occur throughout the year below. 




Monday, December 1, 2014

Today is World AIDS Day



This morning when I awoke all of the rooms of my house were dark. One of our cats, an orange feline with large yellow eyes, trailed behind as I made my way into the kitchen hoping for a quiet hour or two to write before daybreak and my family awakened.  And then I remembered what today was.

The clock on the mantle glowed 6:25am as I took a sip of java and then lit all seven candles in prayer.

Today is World AIDS Day, a time of reflection and a time for raising awareness.

Perhaps you know someone with HIV or have lost a loved one to AIDS. That’s why you care. Maybe your life depends on a cure. That’s why you care. Maybe you’re a research scientist working day in and day out to make a difference, to one day find a cure. You care. Maybe you’re an orphaned child with big dreams and all your life you’ve been living with AIDS because your mother never knew she had it. The world cares. Maybe you're a young man or woman living with HIV in secret because you’re afraid that no one will care. Know that someone cares.

Maybe we’re all in this together. Maybe, just like me, you have to care.

A quiet moment, a simple prayer. I blow out the candles as daylight and the sound of my children's footsteps fill the house, and I am so grateful for the many people in our world who care. Wishing you love, health, and hope this day and many more to come.






Friday, February 28, 2014

Grateful Hearts--St. Jude Childrens's Research Hospital

I'm incredibly touched by all the kind words, prayers and people who have been moved by our story as told by my husband in the Winter/2014 issue of PROMISE. This made me cry. Please follow the link and then share St. Jude's page on your FB to help support the wonderful work of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I can't even put into words what they've met to our family. Thank you with all my heart for your support of St. Jude and their commitment to research and saving families. God Bless.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"A Mother's Story"


"A Mother's Story" by Suzan Stirling-Meredith as it appeared in THE HUFFINGTON POST


My name is Suzan. I'm an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where I advocate for people to join the fight of mothers around the world to protect their children from HIV. I'm also the author ofThe Silence of Mercy Bleu -- a story about a young woman who grows up harboring the secret of AIDS.
When people ask me what propelled me to write a novel about HIV/AIDS, they're often surprised to learn that I am a (now 27-year) survivor of the disease. But unlike my character, Mercy, who grows up with the disease and later strives to have a healthy baby, I didn't learn the truth until it was almost too late.
I met and married the love of my life in 1988, and a couple of years later we decided to start a family. In 1990, our wish came true and we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our lives. In those early years, everything was perfect.
But then in 1996, shortly after the birth of our second child, something began to go terribly wrong. In the matter of a few months, both of our children became very sick.
Alee, our then 5 year-old daughter, began to rapidly lose weight. At the same time, our newborn baby, Mitch, had to be put on a respirator in the ICU, where he would spend weeks fighting a respiratory virus his young body couldn't fend off.
The doctors were candid -- things weren't looking good. There were numerous tests and long hospital stays, but still we had no answers. It was a parent's worst nightmare. We were losing both of our children and no one could tell us why.
I'll never forget the phone call that saved my children's lives. It was a new doctor. She was quick to the point. She said, "Something in your son's blood work warrants an AIDS test. I suggest your whole family be tested."
I was in complete shock. I just remember thinking, "I'm going to have to watch my children die." I didn't think I was strong enough to handle that.

We took our HIV tests, and tragically, our doctor was dead on. I tested positive for HIV. So did Alee and Mitch. We were very lucky in that my husband was negative.
Almost overnight, my family became just another face of AIDS.
It wasn't hard to trace where I'd contracted the virus. Before I'd met my husband, I'd been engaged to a young man who I was later told had died of cancer, but who I now believe died of AIDS. I had carried the virus for nearly 10 years without ever knowing it.
My husband and I nearly lost Alee and Mitchell that year, but 1996 -- the year we were diagnosed -- was also the same year that protease inhibitors became available. My husband and I would crush the blue pills into pudding, clap and cheer, and somehow our children would manage to swallow the brown, sticky mess.
Daily, we saw improvements. This new medicine, in combination with two others, literally brought our children back to us. It was and still is the most miraculous thing that I have ever witnessed.
People often ask me how HIV has changed me, and I almost want to say, "How has it not changed me?" To be completely honest, you can't go through what I've been through -- any life-threatening illness really -- and not come out a completely changed person. HIV is even more difficult because it's a disease that many people suffer with in silence, myself included, for many years.
There were so many things that my family and I had to work through to get to where we are today. HIV forced me to be a much braver, more open person, and I'm thankful for that.
It's never easy for me to share my story, but I think it's important for me -- especially as a mother -- to do so. Today, with medicines that drive the virus to undetectable levels, there is now more hope than ever of staying healthy and stopping HIV transmission. This means being able to protect your partner from the virus, and being able to have a child born free of HIV.
My husband and I were fortunate. We didn't lose our children. The same can't be said for families in other parts of the world, like Africa where our youngest son Yonas was born.
Every day around the world, one thousand mothers -- many of them unaware that they carry HIV-transmit the virus to their own babies in utero, during labor, or through breastfeeding. Without access to the right medicines, they are helpless to protect their own health and that of their babies. Being a mother with three children who are all positive, yet remarkably healthy, I can only imagine what that feels like.
The hardest part of my having HIV was never that I might die -- the hardest part was that I had given this terrible disease to my children. No mother should have to carry that burden. Not today, not ever. Especially when mother-to-child transmission of HIV is completely preventable. With preventative services, the chances of a mother passing the virus on to her children are extremely low -- less than 2 percent. Those are some pretty terrific odds.
We can stop mothers and their children from dying. Really, we can. I know because I've seen it with my own eyes, with my own family.
It's been 16 years now since my children's health was restored. I will get to see my children grow up, and I know that for a parent, there's no greater gift.
As an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, I get the privilege of joining in the fight to eliminate pediatric AIDS. The work done by the Foundation and its partners around the world is saving children's lives and sparing families unimaginable heartache.
The Foundation has made huge strides to help mothers like me, and lifesaving medicines are now reaching more people than ever. You can be a part of that progress.
Join the fight of mothers around the world, and help us get closer to a new generation born free of HIV.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ode to AIDS


I want to share this poem that I wrote some years back, when my children were still quite young and I had to face the very real possibility that I could succumb to AIDS and leave them motherless. Chances are, if you're reading this post you either know someone or have lost someone to HIV/AIDS. This is for you. 


        
Where You'll Find Me 


Where crimson clouds blaze bold
And tree,
A charcoal silhouette stands tall against a crooked sky
Here is where you'll find me.

Where delicate vines cling ‘round tree’s trunk
Breathe in the tall, sweet grass
This is where you’ll find me.

Initials carved into knotty bark
A token of my love for you.

When winds gust autumn
And trees rain gold upon the muddy Earth below
If you should need me,
Here is where you’ll find me.

I’ll rest beneath the untouched snow
Until doves come calling and mystic rivers flow.

Forget me not, for one hundred years from now
Here is where you'll find me
Waiting, one with all God’s creation
To once again be born anew.

~Suzan Meredith


Monday, October 14, 2013

The Finish Line


This year marked the 20th annual AIDS WALK for Louisville! We couldn't have asked for a better day and I have many people to thank for making this day possible. A big thanks to Brad Hampton, the Walk's Event Director, for providing a golf cart for my children, so that they were able to participate in Louisville's AIDS Walk for the very first time. I can't tell you how special that made the day for my husband and I.

I also have to give a shout-out to Monkey Drive Screen printing for putting a rush on our T-shirts. They turned out A-mazing! But the biggest thanks of all goes to my husband, for just being the man and husband that you are, and for making "impossible" things possible. It's because of your determination and refusal to ever give up that we are healthy and well today. I love you.


Another big first was viewing a portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling that it evokes. Yes, sadness, but also peace, love and an incredible spirit from those whose lives each square represents.  A few minutes before the walk began, I noticed that Yonas, my eleven-year-old, had strayed from the pack and wondered over to The Great Lawn, a grassy area where pieces of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were on display. I walked over to him, and together we walked the aisles, viewing the names and precious keepsakes sewn into the fabric squares. Suddenly Yonas stopped.

"Hey Mom." Yonas reached my hand. "Look at this one," he said. The quilted square he pointed to was that of four white doves in flight that circled a poem titled, "White Wing Doves."

To be just like the white wing dove 
With a spirit that flys so wild and free
Even though all our fears and pain
We must find and get through within our soul
Our spirit inside tries hard to just let it be
Even all the tears and sorrows we'll have for life
The spirit will find the peace from within
So I pray to you dear Lord to please
Bless all spirits to be like white wing doves
With a blessing forever to fly so free
Just spread you wings.

~Michael D'Wayne Arder

I thought of my son as he read this poem out loud, and how ironic that his name, Yonas, in his native language (Amharic) means "White Dove," and it was all I could do to hold back my tears. We stood there for only a few moments, before I whispered, "Come on, time to go." Dawn G had just announced that the walk was ready to begin.

The ribbon, cut, fell to the ground and off the crowd went. Through the sea of people, I watched my family in front of me and I held tight to my husband's hand. "Thank you, God," I whispered.

I couldn't have asked for a better day, and as we crossed the finish line at this year's Louisville AIDS Walk, I was struck with this tremendous feeling of awe.

You see, that finish line symbolizes something far deeper for me. The end of AIDS. We will see that day and somewhere, watching over us, is an angel named Michael, whose life and struggle will never be forgotton.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Trick or Treat : )


My Little Kitchen Witch

Happy October! It's no "trick" that this is my favorite time of year so you know it's been a real "treat" pulling out the Halloween gear today : ) While I've been lighting pumpkin spice candles and toting my youngest back and forth to football, my husband, a former Marine, has been busy raising money for Titan Marine Wounded Warrior Project Benefit. The WWP event, which will include music, food, bar and silent auction, will commence on the eve of November 2nd, 2013 so be sure and check them out on FB!   


I'm also happy to share that for the first time all three of my children will be walking in this year's Louisville AIDS and Pet Walk  to be held Oct. 13th at Waterfront Park. The only hitch is that I have to okay a different mode of transport through the walk facilitators. Once I have the okay, we'll be able to register! My big wish for Oct. is for two Segway motor scooters, or a golf cart (that can be rented or donated for the day) so that my two oldest children, who both have disabilities that make walking long distances difficult, can participate! The walk will benefit Volunteers of America, a wonderful community based help organization whose mission is to help people living with HIV. I'll be creating an "event" to be posted a bit later for anyone who'd like to sponsor our walk. Our goal is to raise $500 for VOA and we will match whatever is raised! If not for this wonderful  "helping" organization many people in my community with HIV would go without such fundamental needs as shelter, food, and health care


These are the facts: 


AIDS related deaths in the US alone are estimated to be more than 650,000. That's more American casualties that WWI, WWII, The Korean War, and Vietnam combined. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around those statistics, but there they are. Would you believe that worldwide AIDS has claimed a staggering 35 million men, women and children? That takes a moment to sink in, doesn't it? Unfortunately, these numbers don't lie, and I think we can all agree that a new strategy is in order. 


The great news is that for the first time we have real hope that a solution to AIDS is within reach. One step, one more scientific break and we could very well have the cure. Be it cancer, the homeless, the disabled, or AIDS, all it takes is just one person to make a difference. My adopted son was saved by one American missionary who saw his need. One person can change someone's  life. 



My hope for you this month is that should you come across a mother who cannot give her children enough, you'll fill up a box with presents, or should you see a beggar in the street that you reach into your pocket. And if you believe for something crazy, like a cure for AIDS, that you'll have the courage to fight for it with all your heart. I hope that your month is full of rewards and all the good that you do comes back to you ten-fold. Happy Trick-or-Treat!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Closer to a CURE


For the last sixteen years (since my children's diagnosis) all of my most important choices have revolved around this one, larger than life question, "Will this bring us closer to a cure?"

Asking myself that question has brought me clarity and focus in times of uncertainty, and believe me there have been many.

I think as parents, we're tried and tested on a daily basis on how to best care and look after our families. In our situation, the kids' medical care has always had to take a front seat. My children are seen regularly at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They are a cutting edge research hospital, and being a patient there means that you agree to take part in studies that the hospital is conducting.

When asked if we will take part in a particular study, my "clarity" question comes in handy. It helps me to focus on what's most important for my children. If I feel that the study is too invasive or just not right for my children, naturally, I decline. If we all decide that a certain study they ask the children to participate in could benefit, or even possibly bring us closer to a cure, then we jump on board.

My children have beaten some incredible odds and I thank God every single day. Do I believe that one day my children will be cured of HIV? I do.

During our last visit to St. Jude, we were talking with one of the workers. The kids were enrolled in a "survey" study in which they had to answer questions about their general knowledge of HIV. One of the questions they were asked was, "Do we have a cure?"

I smiled when my son answered, "Yes, of course. We just need to find it."

His words just may have been prophetic. Read this amazing story and you'll understand what I mean.
Once thought to be an impossible feat, doctors at the University of Minnesota are attempting to cure a six-year-old little boy of both his HIV and cancer. He underwent a very difficult transplant (the first of its kind) just yesterday, and now will be in isolation for the next 100 days while he recovers.

I don't usually ask my blog followers for favors, but because I believe so strongly in the power of prayer, I'll ask that you pray for this child, his family, and the doctors who are attempting to cure him of both his HIV and cancer. This "first of its kind" transplant could lead us toward what my family already believes possible...a cure for HIV.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blue Skies Ahead


Stepping out on the Big Four Bridge yesterday afternoon. 

As my daughter and I strolled across the walking bridge I had a moment to reflect on our remarkable journey.  I say remarkable not because of our circumstance.There's nothing noteworthy or remotely remarkable about being HIV positive; what would be remarkable, though, is to live to see the end of HIV. I dream of a world cured of AIDS and there are doctors and researchers believing for the same, but there is work to do. 

As the media buzz over the Mississippi baby functionally cured of HIV settles, we are left with more questions than perhaps answers. One of the biggest, "Can we replicate these same results in others?" 

The short answer is, yes, of course we can. We now know that HIV can be stopped (in some individuals) when caught early enough. This holds true for early HIV exposures treated prophylactically, as well as babies born to mother's infected with the disease. So, what does all this mean? It's a giant step toward one day ending AIDS. 

Already, with just the medicines we now have available, we could end mother to infant transmission for good.  Anti-virals are an amazing class of drugs that drive the virus to levels that are so low that passing the virus, even in vitro becomes highly unlikely. Unfortunately, the majority of women who pass the virus onto their babies are unaware that they are carriers until it's too late. Testing and treating are key. As a mother, and a proud Ambassador for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Foundation  I encourage you to get involved. AIDS isn't over yet. We still have a long road ahead, but we will get there. 







Wednesday, August 29, 2012

HOPE for an HIV CURE

For me, these two remarkable men signify HOPE. Pictured in the photo above are Dr. Gero Hutter, a hematologist who will go down in history as the first to "cure" or eradicate the HIV virus from someone infected with the disease, and Timothy Brown (aka The Berlin Patient) the first man to be cured. 

I remember a few years back reading an article where a leading AIDS researcher was quoted as saying,  "HIV will never be cured." I was devastated. To think, that someone at the helm of research had no belief in a cure for a disease that, if not cured, would destroy millions of lives, worldwide.  

There will always be nay-sayers, and there will always be those special few who set out to accomplish the "impossible," and succeed. Think about it. Once upon a time, someone said the world was flat, we'll never walk on the moon, and a cure for HIV would never happen...

Never say Never, friends. Hats off to these two for attempting the "impossible," and would you just look what happened. Now that we know that HIV eradication is possible, this will surely lead to newer and more innovative cure research. We have much to look forward to!

Read more about Dr. Gero Hutter here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gero_Hütter

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting To Zero



30 years and 30 million lives lost. I have a hard time even wrapping my head around those numbers. If you ask anyone, chances are they've lost someone to AIDS. I remember the first person I lost to AIDS like it were yesterday. For you it may be a sister, a lover, a parent, a friend--no one's immune.

We can't change the past, all we can do is move forward...We can, and ultimately will cure HIV/AIDS and prevent future generations from suffering what will one day be looked back on as the worst epidemic of all time. I refuse to give up. The world deserves a cure.

I came across this powerful video. Just a small reminder of how far we've come in the last 30 years.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Little Things...





I'll never forget the phone call that saved my children's lives. It was a new doctor. She was quick to the point. She said, "Something in your son's blood work warrants an AIDS test. I suggest your whole family be tested."

A few years ago, I couldn't have shared this story, but the love and support I've received from my readers, friends and family has changed that. Still, it's never easy, but as a mom who wants to see this disease eradicated, I think it's important to do so. Below, I've pasted a link to a blog post I recently wrote for THE HUFFINGTON POST.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzan-stirling/pediatric-aids-_b_1375936.html

Want to know two simple things you can do to help end pediatric AIDS?

1. Share THE HUFFINGTON POST link with everyone you know!
2. Visit www.Pedaids.org to learn more.

Thanks for sharing The Huffington Post link with your friends! It sounds like a such simple thing, but sometimes it's the little things that can make all the difference in the world.

Have a blessed day!

Suzan