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Anonymous (#47965115)
 member for 4 years, 9 months, 7 days
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 • 2 Virtual Flowers
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In Response to You Regarding My Tribute to James Roy Rogers, My Friend
Hello Joseph,

Thank you for taking the time to convey your feelings and thoughts to me regarding my friend James, your cousin, while addressing a portion of what I wrote, specifically regarding AIDS. I'm not at all certain what cooperation you expect of me, but I feel it safe to say that the cooperation you seek will not be forthcoming, my friend.

I feel it best to respond minimally regarding James' cause of death. You can skip to the last paragraph below to read that response if you wish. But I do encourage you to read the information I wrote prior to that paragraph. It will provide you greater insight into several topics surrounding James and his life and my relationship to him.

I was when James was alive, and remain today, an LGBT and AIDS activist. I'm also a former broadcast journalist. I'm more familiar than the average lay person about how HIV and the subsequent syndrome (AIDS) has impacted the lives of virtually every human on Earth. I was also a part of James' life. We would have been friends for fifteen years had he lived until the summer of '91.

James and I spoke every day during his last days in the hospital. While he was in Texas and later in Downey we would phone each other frequently. Always in touch; always keeping tabs on each other. Because of my friendship with James, my involvement with HIV/AIDS organizations, in addition to being employed in health care, I knew more about his health status than most others, save for his sister Liz and those in his HIV/AIDS support group. It was I whom James first notified about his HIV-positive status and later when he developed AIDS.

Back in '91 there were still many, many biases surrounding HIV/AIDS. Oddly, there are a few remaining to this day. Back then funeral homes were refusing to accept the remains of those who were merely suspected of dying from complications due to AIDS. One method of deterring this type of blatant and cruel treatment was to place the actual cause of death ... and ONLY the actual cause of death ... on the death certificate of one who had died. Which wouldn't have been a misrepresentation of any sort, I hasten to add.

Joseph, not one person has died from AIDS, ever. Not one in the entire history of the pandemic. People who had AIDS died of AIDS-related illnesses. It is a syndrome that invites almost always fatal, opportunistic diseases into the body of the patient who, by that time, has become immuno-compromised to the extent that the body fails to muster the required response to fend off infection. The common cold virus could mean a death sentence for one of these patients.

Fortunately today, the number of deaths due to these complications -- again, not from AIDS -- is minimal (in developed, industrialized nations, anyway). In fact, experts have stated that AIDS is now as manageable as diabetes. By the way, diabetes and AIDS are both are auto-immune disorders and are managed similarly.

1991 had yet to see even the most primitive compounds of protease inhibitor therapy; therefore, many people were still succumbing to the ravages of the various diseases precipitated by AIDS.

In June of 1995, the FDA approved the first protease inhibitor. This was the beginning of a new era of a treatment regimen called Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy, or HAART. This eventually led the way to the highly successful treatments we see today.

Joseph, you are correct. James did not die from AIDS.

Very Best Wishes,
Added by 'Loq on Feb 09, 2015 2:19 AM
Joseph Mercer
Flowers for James Rogers who died 03/24/1991 buried at Sayre-Doxey cemetery Sayre, OK
Thank you for the heartfelt words for my cousin. I wanted to correct you on the cause of his death. He did NOT have AIDS. He had a very serious liver infection due to hepatitis type C. The infection poisoned his blood and effectively the rest of his internal organs. The death certificate even states on the cause as liver failure. Thanks in advance for your cooperation in this matter with hope together we can help to correct this almost 24 year old error.
Joseph Mercer
Added by Joseph Mercer on Jan 11, 2015 9:51 AM

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