Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Marty Delaney Changed Medicine.

From my friend, Ken McPherson, who was one of the first AIDS activists. Ken migrated to San Francisco early in the 80s and set up an information table at "Hibernia Beach," a corner in the Castro.
I just went to your blog and learned about Marty Delaney.

He really was an extraordinary person. I spent two years on the board of directors of D.A.I.R. (Documentation of AIDS Issues and Research) with Marty in the late 80s. He wrote about my work in his autobiography.

I was there when he began smuggling ribavirin and isoprenizine over the Mexican border to begin testing the validity of combination therapy. The doctors wouldn't do the testing, "too risky". Yeah. Tell that to people who are dying... That really pissed him off.

So he rented the office next to DAIR and began Project Inform. At the time, it was almost impossible for PWA's to get in-depth information on the epidemic. People forget how paternalistic the medical community was at in those days. Patients were expected to do what their doctors told him and otherwise, keep quiet.

As a result of Marty's work, PWA's soon stopped thinking of themselves as "victims" and began taking personal responsibility for their health. Project Inform played a major role in the patient's rights movement by providing a model in which doctors and patients were a team; something we now take for granted. What an amazing legacy.

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