Lee and Lucas Courtney
Lucas and Lee Courtney have each been living with HIV since birth. Soon after learning about their status, the boys became strong advocates for other children living with HIV—sharing their experiences and encouraging others to help create a world where no child has AIDS.
“When our mom first told us that we were both living with HIV and that we each contracted the virus from our biological mothers, we were scared--but we also knew that we were lucky to have the love and support of our parents, who make sure we take our medicines and stay healthy,” said Lucas.
As Lucas and Lee learned more about pediatric HIV and the hard work of EGPAF co-founder Elizabeth Glaser to fight for children living with HIV, they became inspired to become advocates themselves.
“All the medicines that we take to survive would not be available if it was not for Elizabeth’s hard work. She and other amazing leaders fought really hard for research and for medicines for children,” said Lee.
In 2013 the Courtney family welcomed a new family member, Polina, from the Ukraine, where she was living in an orphanage for children living with HIV.
“When Polina first joined our family, she was amazed by things, like refrigerators, that most of us take for granted as part of our everyday lives. Today, we are so happy to have her as part of our family, and just like us, Polina takes her medications and is a happy and healthy kid,” shared Lucas.
Polina’s story is also a reminder that around the world, children living with HIV can often be isolated and face serious stigma and discrimination. Her story continues to inspire her brothers to stand up for children around the world and ensure that every child, no matter where she lives, has the chance for a healthy future.
Today, Lucas and Lee are both healthy, active young men who enjoy sports, school, and spending time with friends. The Courtney Family lives in Massachusetts and supports EGPAF’s mission to end AIDS in children by speaking at university “Up 4 The Fight” Dance Marathons and participating in EGPAF events across the United States.