By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com December 18 2012 8:08 PM ET
Spencer Cox, a pivotal AIDS activist who helped spearhead research on lifesaving protease inhibitors, died this morning of AIDS-related causes at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He was 44 years old.
Cox cofounded Treatment Action Group and was a spokesman for ACT UP, and his activism began early. According to an obituary posted on ACT UP's website, Cox "schooled himself in the basic science of AIDS and became something of an expert, a 'citizen scientist' whose ideas were sought by working scientists. In the end, Spencer wrote the drug trial protocol which TAG proposed for testing the promising protease inhibitor drugs in 1995. Adopted by industry, it helped develop rapid and reliable answers about the power of those drugs, and led to their quick approval by the FDA."
Cox was featured prominently in David France's recent documentary about the AIDS epidemic, How to Survive A Plague, and in memory of the activist, France released the interview below, an outtake from his powerful documentary. Watch Cox's heartfelt reflections on a pivotal moment for AIDS patients in the video below.