Jamie Gentille: Fight for them to live

Jamie Gentille, an HIV-positive AIDS activist, urges ONE members to continue the progress on ending HIV/AIDS.

Thirty years ago, at the age of three, I was infected with HIV through a blood transfusion during open heart surgery. Before the operation, the first three years of my life were spent in hospitals, treating a significant heart defect and preparing for surgery. After surgery, the rest of my life was supposed to be normal. However, as I know very well now, things don’t always go as planned.

Fast forward five years. I was eight years old and my parents learned that I had contracted HIV during my surgery as a toddler. I was given two years to live, at best. There were no medications available. There was no hope. My family was going to lose their daughter, their sister.

Luckily for me, I don’t play by the rules. And there were incredible heroes working to save my life and the lives of so many other pediatric AIDS patients.

Shortly after my diagnosis, HIV medications were approved for use in children, giving my family and me hope. Now, at age 32, I am healthy, happily married, and have a bright, fulfilling, and long future ahead of me.

As an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, I am thrilled to support ONE and advocate for the “Beginning of the End of AIDS.” I am alive today because people like you fought to save my life when I was a kid. To continue this legacy of advocacy, I ask you to join me and millions of other ONE members by signing this important petition.

Click here to sign our petition to end AIDS.

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We have made incredible progress here in the United States and across the globe, but our work is not done.

We must continue to prevent transmission of HIV from a mother to her child, so that no baby is born with the virus.

We must raise awareness about HIV prevention and treatment, and continue to educate our communities about the epidemic.

We must continue to study better treatments and possible cures for HIV.

And we must advocate that Congress not cut successful global AIDS programs like the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has saved millions of lives.

We are approaching a critical time for HIV/AIDS funding, and we must speak up.

Just around the corner in July is the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., which is a vital opportunity to take action.

I am alive today because people took action 30 years ago. It’s time for us to continue the fight, and keep the momentum going toward an AIDS-free generation.

Give HIV-positive people a chance to live productive and healthy lives, just as Jamie was given a chance. Share our petition now with your friends and family and help us end the AIDS epidemic once and for all.