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Spencer Cox's Legacy as a Treatment Activist and a Gay Man With AIDS

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Gay City News
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January 7, 2013

When news surfaced on December 18 that Spencer Cox, one of the most important HIV treatment activists going back more than two decades, had died of AIDS-related causes at a Manhattan hospital at the age of 44, a haunting video clip of the Georgia native soon surfaced on Facebook. In an outtake from “How to Survive a Plague,” David France’s recent widely acclaimed documentary about treatment activism in the years leading up to the introduction of protease inhibitors in the mid-1990s, Cox spoke about the dramatic shift the success of those drugs created not only in the health of people with HIV, but also in their emotional well-being. “What I learned from that is that miracles are possible,” he said. “Miracles happen, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything… You keep evolving and you keep progressing, you keep hoping until you die. Which is going to happen someday. You live your life as meaningful as you can make it. You live it and don’t be afraid of who is going to like you or are you being appropriate. You worry about being kind. You worry about being generous. And if it’s not about that, what the hell’s it about? That’s what I’ve learned.”