December 3, 2007

December 3 | Elizabeth Glaser

November 11, 1947 - December 3, 1994: Age 47

Elizabeth Glaser had one piece of very bad luck: she received an HIV-infected blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth to her daughter Ariel. Although it was Glaser who as infected, Ariel received the virus eventually as well through breastfeeding. In 1984, her son Jake was born, he had contracted HIV from his mother in utero.

Nobody knew this until Ariel began to get sick. In 1985 all three family members were tested for HIV and found positive. At the time, there was no treatment, and AIDS was a death sentence. In 1987 AZT was approved as a life-extending drug, but it was approved only for adults. Although Glaser and her husband (actor Paul Michael Glaser) fought hard to have Ariel treated with AZT, permission came too late and Ariel died in 1988.

Glaser co-founded the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in 1988 in an effort to save her own child as well as other HIV-positive children. For 6 years she worked to raise public awareness of HIV infection in children and to encourage funding for pediatric AIDS drugs and research.

Her health began to fail in 1994 and she died in December. The Foundation continues, and is a major force in funding the study of pediatric HIV issues. Jake is now a healthy young adult.

Sources: Wikipedia, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Paul Michael Glaser Web Experience

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