"Right now there are hundreds of thousands of people in this country waiting for organs. Most of them will die before they get them. Many of them will die after they have been put on a waiting list
- Larry Kramer
actor/writer/producer/author & veteran esteemed activist, has survived nearly 12 months since his
liver transplant last December. [BTW, that's how long he said he needed to finish his mighty tome-in-progress, 'The American People'
]. The founder of Gay Men's Health Crisis
and other community action groups needed the operation due to a co-infection
with Hepatitis B Virus, a situation which is becoming increasingly common now that long-term survival rates for HIV+ folks improve, and other viruses have more deadly effects. Naturally, the coming crisis in organ transplants
leads the ultra-activist to a new, personal but less formal protest: a campaign for presumed consent.
"In a previous interview Kramer also remarked that he did not feel welcomed or wanted at Mt Sinai. Other issues such as homophobia, AIDS-phobia and ethical concerns about "wasting good organs on HIV positive patients," or the fear that donors might stop giving organs if they find out PWAs are receiving them, have all influenced and slowed HIV positive transplant progress." In a recent New York Times interview, Dr. Fung (Kramer's surgeon)stated that "homophobia has been one of the problems in moving HIV positive organ transplants forward. Such homophobia is veiled, and never openly admitted
Kramer's liver transplant "has cost Medicare, so far, over $500,000 and Empire Blue Cross, so far, over $100,000 for the continuing medications I must take, including a monthly pop of some $10,000 for something called Hepatitis B Immune Globulin, which I believe I must receive for the rest of my life. And you need to get your blood tested every few weeks. That costs a lot too." How many HIV+ folks in the US - let alone globally - can afford that?
posted by dash_slot-
on Dec 1, 2002 -