STORY | “AIDS in the Recession”

David Hubert and Mark Reed have been living with HIV/AIDS in St. Louis for over twenty years and have been partners for just as long.  Diagnosed with AIDS in the 80’s– a time when the life expectancy for AIDS victims was about two years– David is now one of the longest living AIDS survivors in St. Louis.

With the price of co-pays for HIV medication reaching upwards of $8,500 per year, per person, Mark and David have been forced to the edge of poverty, living each month paycheck to paycheck.  “We basically start off each month in the hole,” says David.

Although they once received aid from the Ryan White Foundation– the payer of last resort for HIV/AIDS victims– the recession in the United States has caused an increase in the amount of people requesting help and has subsequently caused a cut in funding for Mark and David’s medication.   Facing these economic hardships and unable to work because of the disease, Mark and David have found ways to live a life of thrift while still trying to maintain a semi-comfortable lifestyle living off disability payments.”