Few diseases, at least in modern times, have created as much heart-break as AIDS. Artists couldn't escape it, including he-man actors or gay singers and pianists. Not even world champion athletes who were completely heterosexual.
It is hard to believe that the pain it caused so many in the artistic community and gay community did not cause people to think of them differently.
"You have to be granite not to want to help people with AIDS, because the devastation that it causes is so painful to see. I was so hurt to see my friend die with such agony,' Warwick remembers. 'I am tired of hurting and it does hurt.,'" said singer Dionne Warwick.
The late Randy Shilts was condemned and insulted by fellow gays when he told them to shut down the bathhouses and practice safe sex.
In the past couple of years the effectiveness of so-called cocktails of medicines and the apparent cure of at least one child, gave the world hope.
Treatments still promise longer lives for victims, but the false hope of a cure was exposed as a cruel joke Thursday.
The day started with the Mailonline reporting
doctors at an international conference in Melbourne in 10 days woulld hear reports that three babies had been cured of AIDS. Thursday the air burst out of that balloon.
“Three babies have been declared HIV-free after being treated with a revolutionary new drug only hours after they were born,” the Mail Online said in its scenesetter for the conference that begins July 20.
Unfortunately it crossed digital communications lines as reports of the cure failure hit the news.
These cases and others had been seen as breakthroughs in care for HIV and AIDS.
One of the most noteworthy cases was in Mississippi, where an infant was put on anti-AIDS treatments shortly after birth. It appeared to have caught the disease in time, and the treatment was stopped.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that 46 months after the baby was born it tested positive for the AIDS virus. The news was described as “very disappointing” by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.
“It felt very much like a punch to the gut,” said Dr. Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
“The sad news, upsetting for the family of the 46-month-old girl, also dashed the hopes of clinicians who believed a cure for babies born with HIV may be within their grasp,” said Scientific American.
The New York Times said the end of the child’s remission put into question the entire theory that early interventions with newborns can make a big differ.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a leading AIDS expert who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Times:
“It’s obviously disappointing, but I was not surprised. I’ve been chasing these reservoirs for the last 25 years, and I know this virus has a really uncanny way of hiding itself.”The baby was said to be responding well to anti-retroviral treatment.
Heavy.com reported that from the start there was a huge problem with the declaration that the baby was AIDS-free. The No. 1 reason was that the doctors didn’t know why it was.
Even though the news means the struggle to prevent the onset of the disease must continue, through a vaccine or early treatment when the first traces of it appear, there has been huge progress in treating the disease since it exploded on the world scene in 1983, and claimed the lives of rich and poor, including macho men like Rock Hudson [Unlink] and quirky pianist Liberace [Unlink], and was initially described as an illness that only affected gays.
The late journalist and author Randy Shilts, who campaigned to persuade fellow gays to avoid unprotected sex, himself died of the disease, but at least knew the secret was out.
It was determined the disease could be transmitted in ways other than anal sex, such as blood transfusions. Tennis [Unlink] star Arthur Ashe [Unlink] contracted the disease when he received multiple transfusions for heart surgery.
The Daily Beast