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Durham NC is the leading area for HIV research and clinical trials. This has made many doctors and researchers successful in life. I do wonder if the constant search for a cure is for the benefit of the people living with the illness or the love of money which funds these projects and keeps people working. When I was an electrician I was working late at night and while I was in the back of the (hospital) I was working at a van pulls up at about 2:00 am and a couple guys get out and start offloading cages. Turns out they were beagles being brought in to be experimented on for cancer research. Their larynx were cut out already to prevent them from barking. As we continued on the project of installing conduit for an electrical system we were required to go into clean rooms and install devices and conduit while work was going on. I saw doctors of Asian descent meticulously dissecting rats keeping them alive at the same time. It made me think of present day situation where I see myself, a carrier a a virus which so much research is going on. I've found myself stigmatized by a system which I used to believe in. A system which allows a person to pursue the American dream. I accomplished that in a relatively short period of time but after my diagnosis realized I had to give some of it up. The options were just no longer available and I found myself on the other end of the spectrum, floundering amongst the red tape and uncertainty of a future living with HIV.

I'm thankful to be alive but having lost almost everything I realize that stuff is not what made me happy anyway...its just stuff, a career is just that....a career. In the end we are all the same walking around this planet trying to fill a hole with the newest gadget at Best Buy. HIV has changed many lives, some for the better, others for the worst. In Durham HIV is center stage for research and ongoing trials yet I still wonder what is the ultimate goal, eradication of this disease or continuing funding to seek a cure. I also wonder about the 33 million people living with the virus and ponder whether they have the same views I do or are just going along with the ride until its over. Hopefully HIV education will prevent unnecessary diagnosis" in the future but until then the word needs to be put out that HIV remains a constant threat to many individuals who remain ignorant to the dangers.

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