David Brudnoy, 57, a prominent Boston broadcaster and talk-show host, was near death from AIDS in 1994 when he gained national attention by revealing both his illness and his homosexuality to a vast radio audience. With the aid of the combination drug therapy, he has dramatically recovered and is now in good health with undetectable viral levels. He published the highly acclaimed memoir, “Life Is Not a Rehearsal.” David died December 9, 2004 from AIDS-related complications. He was 64.
Belind Dunn died on March 12, 2002, after two failed liver transplants. A mother of two and grandmother of three, she was infected with HIV since 1986. She was an active member in her Baptist church and opted for a more holistic approach to treatment consisting of prayer and green/blue algae. After a diagnosis of Hepatitis C, (infected 30 years ago during the birth of her son) she reluctantly started the drug “cocktail,” but severe side effects and surgery led her to eventually stop the treatment. Her heroic fight against Hepatitis C and HIV was an inspiration to everyone she touched. She is sorely missed.
Carole, 50, had classic symptoms for HIV for three years but was chronically misdiagnosed for anxiety and other related neurosis. She didn’t fit the stereotype, white, middle-class, married and no drug addiction. Her husband had an affair. Now, she has devoted herself to AIDS education, particularly for women. She and her husband Michael, after a couple of rough years in their marriage they have worked very hard and turned a corner in their relationship. They are more in love and devoted to each other than ever.
Anibal, was a recovering heroin addict from Nicaragua who battled HIV, addiction and chronic pain from arthritis. He ended his relationship with his HIV-negative fiance, Caryl Beth to pursue other women who were HIV-positive so he could have unsafe sex and not feel guilty. Due to complications between his addiction and AIDS, he died November 13, 1999.
Matilda, 34, from Puerto Rico, is a recovering heroin addict living with her family in a Boston housing project. Her husband, Armando, was hospitalized with AIDS in 1988. Pregnant with Simeon, her fourth child, she tested HIV-positive. Eight years ago her fifth child, Christoba, was born prematurely and HIV-positive. Matilda has been getting good results from combination therapy for almost three years, but experiences considerable pain. Neither her husband nor her son has been able so far to sustain the new medications. In addition to HIV, she and her family struggle with the “ordinary” difficulties of urban poverty.
Joe, 37, a nuclear medical technician, has been with his partner, Bill, for thirteen years. He tested positive in 1987, while Bill remains negative. Side effects and an unsatisfactory response have compelled Joe to change medications repeatedly. Diagnosed with the dreaded brain disease, PML, in June of 1999, Joe died, November 12, 1999.