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HIV YOUTH: Too many dying young for no reason

Reported by: Kim Wagner
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Updated: 5/01 9:16 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- When it comes to treating HIV, medications remain very expensive, and that doesn’t take into account the human cost or the cost to society.

Many who are diagnosed don’t have health insurance, and that means taxpayers are left to foot the bill. But ignorance remains a culprit that has so many paying for life.
Coming Tuesday: When Magic Johnson announced he had the HIV virus in 1991, many were frightened about the implications. Now, 22 years later, attitudes are dramatically different about HIV, and Johnson has a lot to do with that.

For weeks, Ke$ha’s song “Die Young” was the No. 1 hit in America, dominating the pop charts. But when pop culture preaches something all too real, it gets the attention of local activists.

“You could die young, but why if you don’t have to?” asks JeKeissa Mosley.

As the lead case manager at Aid for AIDS of Nevada, Mosley has seen way too many people die young on her watch.

An interactive on-line mapping project developed at Emory University shows HIV in America. The dark burgundy of Clark County illustrates bad news: it means our infection levels are among the highest in the country.

“The disease is devastating, and it reaches across all color barriers ... your financial status ... people need to wake up,” Mosley said.

Last year, when 20 year-old Zackary Chamberlain was diagnosed with HIV, it led to a phone call that his mom, Karen, will never forget.

“He’s crying to the point you can’t really understand what he’s saying, and then he blurts out, ‘I have HIV,” she said. “Your heart stops. You can’t breathe.”

Zack and Karen are closer than ever -- a team in this battle against the potentially deadly virus.

And, Karen knows all too well, her son’s chances of survival are very good.

“Anytime I share Zack’s diagnosis, everyone refers to Magic Johnson. ‘Look how great he’s doing. It’ll be OK,’ ” Karen Chamberlain said.


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