Everyday Heroes in Battle Against AIDS

Yahoo!ABC News | March 29, 2012

March 29, 2012

AIDS affects nations, continents and communities, but for people dealing with the disease every day, it's a personal battle they have to fight and come to terms with themselves.

Last week we looked at the global and political fight against AIDS. This week we turn our focus to three individuals on the front line, whose lives have all been changed by the disease.

Dr. David Ho was a young physician in Los Angeles trying to make a career for himself when he began seeing a mysterious disease effecting gay men. Since then, he has dedicated his career to AIDS research.

In 1996 he was TIME magazine's Person of the Year for his work on the pioneering antiretroviral "cocktail" that have made HIV a manageable disease.

Cristina Pena has never known life without HIV. She contracted the disease at birth and joins us to share her experience as a 27-year old woman living her life HIV positive. A perspective that she uses to educate children living with HIV/AIDS as a Spokesperson for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation.

Author Edmund White found out he was HIV positive while living in France in 1985. At that time a positive diagnosis was a virtual death sentence which saw White attend dozens of funerals for friends who succumbed to the disease in the 1980's. He's gone on to found the Gay Men's Health Crisis which is based near his home in New York City. His latest book, "Jack Holmes and his Friend," looks at the dynamics of heterosexual-homosexual friendship set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.