THOUSANDS MARCH TO A SINGLE MESSAGE – CURE AIDS: The 2019 Gay Pride Parade marchers advance toward what had been St. Vincent’s Hospital’s main building (on the right), where thousands died, and the Northwell Medical complex (across the street on the left) which may house a laboratory to cure AIDS. Photo by Ismael Ramirez.
By George Capsis
Iran-born Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D., the president of the Research Foundation to Cure AIDS (RFTCA), speaks with precision and clarity that the end goal should not be limited to protecting ourselves from being infected by HIV/AIDS using prophylactics but to cure and nip it in the bud. To that end, he recently met with Alexander Hellinger, the executive director of Lenox Health Greenwich Village (the Northwell urgent care center at 13th Street and 7th Avenue) to ask for 1,600 square feet to build a laboratory to actually and finally find a cure for AIDS—and how appropriate to do it in Greenwich Village where AIDS first made its appearance in the early 1980’s as it began to kill over 100,000 men and women. New York and Greenwich Village was and still is the AIDS capital of this country.
Hellinger conducted Shekdar through Northwell’s gleaming facility and suggested that they might find room for the cure lab in the Rudin Building just across 7th Avenue, which was, ironically, the location of the AIDS ward of the now condo-consumed St. Vincent’s Hospital. As Kambiz explains, AIDS weakens the immune system and opens patients to all infections. We spend billions on treatment and prophylactic drugs, which is enormously profitable to the drug companies, but no real effort is being made to cure the underlying disease.
Openly HIV-positive City Council Speaker Corey Johnson spoke out against the profiteering of AIDS drug companies in December. Being gay and living with HIV/AIDS, it is hoped he will be sympathetic and help find city funding needed for RFTCA’s cure lab. Prophetically, the new AIDS lab, should it be built, will overlook the AIDS Memorial.
Symbolically, Hellinger offered to sponsor a Christmas choral concert at St. Veronica’s Church on Christopher Street. St. Veronica’s displays the only known church memorial to New York’s and Greenwich Village’s AIDS victims.
Please come to the concert at St. Veronica’s, 138 Christopher Street on December 22nd at 4 o’clock.