Robb's Life: The 20th Anniversary P.2

By Emily Scarlett |, Armando Ochoa |

Published 11/24 2015 10:15PM

Updated 11/24 2015 10:15PM

As we continue our Robb's Life series, hear from the doctor who treated Robb back in the early 90's. He talks about how treatment for HIV and AIDS 20 years ago was much different that today. And that's not all that changed, from the perception of the disease, to the likelihood of survival.
"You're on TV, is that mine?"
"Yeah, it's your cheesecake."
Clayton Peterson/ Equal Rights Advocate:
"AIDS brought gay people more into the limelight, and how when no one else would support us, we banded together and we supported one another."
Louis Katz, M.D./Robb's doctor: 
"From the late 70's early 80's as the disease emerged until the mid 90's treatment was not effective. Period. End of story."
"Robb's illness played out during that part of the AIDS epidemic."
"It damages the immune system progressively over a period years."
"So that the immune system can no longer respond the way it's supposed to, to a wide variety of infections."
Clayton Peterson/ Equal Rights Advocate:
"I lost my first friend in 1984."
"I worked in a gay bar for a number of years, and many friends disappeared over that period of time." 
Louis Katz, M.D./Robb's doctor: 
"Their pill burden per day was a heaping double handful of pills. So, imagine my hands with a big mound of pills and that's what they took. Everyday." 
"Right about the time that Robb was entering the terminal phase of his illness was about the time that our ability to treat HIV changed absolutely dramatically, and had he gotten sicker a little bit later, or if the drugs had come a little bit earlier, things might have been different."
"They began turning HIV from a lethal, progressive infectious disease into a chronic, manageable illness we believe is now compatible with a normal lifespan."
Wendy Kelly, The Project Executive Director:
"Many people when they are first diagnosed they think this is the end of life, this is the end of the world, nobody's going to want to be bothered with me, family is kicking me to the curb, I don't know what to do. We don't leave anybody. We make that walk with them."
Sarah Oliver/Delacerda Vice President of Board of Directors:
"There needed to be an agency that wasn't afraid of that diagnosis, that wasn't afraid of saying, 'come on in and we'll help you out." 
"We started out with one facility named Robb's House. It has five bedrooms and it's more of a group living setting. This is meant to a place of transition."
"People don't get HIV and die any more. They get HIV and they get treatment and they live long successful lives. It's not a death sentence."
Louis Katz, M.D./Robb's doctor: 
"I was getting paid to be a doc, that was my job. It wasn't Robb's job to do what he did."
"He was an eloquent spokesman in this community when there were few."
"Robb did here what some of the early activists did on the coast, and it wasn't easy. There were people that didn't like Robb. I'm sure there were people that ostracized both him, his family and his friends because of his openness. That's what we call pioneers."
And in the final part of our series, we visit Robb's final resting place with Ken Gullette, the original creator of 'Robb's Life.' He tells us about the dramatic changes in his life and his beliefs after documenting Robb's final year living with AIDS. That's in part three of Robb's Life: The 20th Anniversary.

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