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Op-Ed: Is This The Generation That Will End AIDS?

Op-Ed: Is This The Generation That Will End AIDS?


HIV-positive since birth, this activist (and Hollywood royalty) asks what that will take.

Since the epidemic began, we’ve seen groundbreaking research and technology transform the way we treat and prevent HIV. We know how to stop the virus from spreading, and we have the tools available today to end it. So why haven't we?

What it will take to end HIV is for the global community to rally the resources and political will to make the dream of an AIDS-free future a reality. This can only be achieved by arming future generations with the information and tools needed to stay HIV free and to not pass the virus on.

Thirty-one years ago I was born HIV-positive and was not expected to live past age 10. My mother, Elizabeth Glaser, who’d contracted the virus in a blood transfusion, unknowingly passed the virus to my sister and me. My sister’s death in 1988 spurred my mother to start the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) to combat mother-to-child HIV transmissions. A lot has changed since then.


Jake Glaser as a toddler, with his mother Elizabeth

The discovery of how to stop mother to child transmission has been one of the global community’s greatest achievements to date. Because of widespread availability of prevention of mother to child transmission services, we have reduced transmission in the United States by 95 percent and globally by 58 percent. Even with this amazing progress, 600 babies become newly infected with HIV every day. This is completely unacceptable because it is entirely preventable.

For women and mothers, the key to ensuring the virus is not spread to their children is getting tested, knowing your status, and accessing treatment. Treatment prevents transmission. But in many parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, women face many barriers – including stigma and discrimination – that can prevent them from getting the services they need to prevent and treat HIV. EGPAF works every day to break down these barriers through research, advocacy, prevention, care, and treatment programs.


Glaser on a recent trip to Africa

Young people today have a unique opportunity – a responsibility, rather – to create a world without HIV and AIDS. We are in a new age, one of 24/7 connectivity, and with this connectivity we are more equipped than ever to educate, empower, and inspire generations to join the fight for an AIDS-free future.

By using our voices, we can end the stigma and discrimination that many people living with HIV must deal with every single day. Thanks to the power of digital media, we truly can go where no generation has gone before, into a world without HIV and AIDS. We have the science, technology, and power to end one of the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced.

There are actions we must all take to see this through. First, educate yourself using any resources you have: the Internet, your doctor, friends, and family. Second, be a part of the solution and get tested, know your status, and take action to not contract the virus or spread it. And third, identify a local or global organization, like EGPAF, that is working to end the epidemic and get involved. You can do this by volunteering, donating, or simply sharing social media posts using the hashtag #GENENDIT and #AIDSFREEGEN to extend our reach and join the next generation on our mission to end HIV and AIDS by the year 2030.


I am not yet a father, but I just turned 31 and was able to celebrate my birthday along with the 26th Annual A Time For Heroes fundraiser to support my mother’s foundation, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I am healthier than ever, have an amazing woman in my life, and can’t wait to start my family and see little Glasers running around in the world free of HIV.

Jake_glaserx100Jake Glaser is a global ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and co-founder of Modern Advocate. On Oct. 25, 2015, Jake and EGPAF celebrated EGPAF’s 26th annual A Time for Heroes family festival to raise the funds and awareness needed to end AIDS in children worldwide. To learn more visit

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