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RutgersONE hosts The Lazarus Effect: Antiretroviral Drugs in Africa

January 19, 2011

A few weeks ago, the ONE Chapter at Rutgers University (NJ) hosted its first viewing of The Lazarus Effect. Its goal was to educate the student body and faculty at Rutgers about the powerful effect of antiretroviral drugs in saving the billions of people living with HIV/AIDS. For one night, RutgersONE provided viewers with a profound documentary that gave insight to the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. It had the help of the Rutgers University student body, RED, Global Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ONE, HBO, and many other contributers who have a part in combating HIV/AIDS.

The film traces the experience of Constance (Connie) Mudenda, who lost all three of her children to AIDS before treatment was accessible. She and her husband both tested positive for HIV but did not have access to treatment. When sparse supplies of life-saving medicine did arrive, they were again forced to choose between the medication, rent, or food. Eventually, Constance becomes involved with a clinic that provided free antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). She was one of the first people to be enrolled at the clinic where she is now an HIV Peer Education Supervisor.

The Lazarus Effect is an HBO documentary whose name is inspired by “The Lazarus Effect,” a term that references the biblical story of Lazarus and his resurrection. In the context of this film, The Lazarus Project involves the significance antiretroviral medicine has in transforming the lives of those with HIV.

Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) have had tremendous results as treatment towards combating HIV. The Lazarus Effect shows the extraordinary results from just 40 cents for 2 lifesaving pills. With the help of 2 antiretroviral pills, a person with HIV can transform their life in as few as 40 days.

This is what doctors and so many others call “The Lazarus Effect.”

About William Tsang

Billy believes that being a Sex and Justice Fellow is important because there are a lot of health and safety issues affecting individuals and families around the world. As a college graduate from Rutgers University (NJ), he has had the opportunity to learn about many of these topics. Now, he'd like to share what he knows and continue to learn through this network at Americans for Informed Democracy. Why? Because the more you know, the more you can help. Billy has been studying and writing about HIV/AIDS issues for awhile. While he thinks the biology of the virus is fascinating on its own, he's even more interested in the sociological and psychological impact of HIV/AIDS, and what current initiatives are promising while others are not. On a lighter note, he recalls having had 6 dogs in his house... at the same time. According to him, "It was nuts!"

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