I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the generation of AIDS. When health class had to be in depth, not because oh you might get pregnant, but because everyone new someone who was getting sick, and passing away from AIDS. I remember teachers terrifying the class with pictures of sick patients, and stories of IV drug use. But at home I saw what the disease could really do, as it ravaged my sweet misunderstood cousin Howie. Who had run to San Francisco in the 70’s after our family refused to accept that he was gay. Howie passed away only a few years after being diagnosed with HIV.And I’ve known that since he passed away there have been many new treatments offered, but it still seemed like a cure was a far far way off.
Then yesterday I read about the “Berlin Patient” who’s AIDS infection seems to have been completely defeated with a stem cell transplant; which he was given to treat aggressive Leukemia. I really recommend reading the case study, it’s extremely interesting, and shows how a small Northern European population with a natural cellular immunity may be able to lead to a synthetic treatment; which is needed so that you wouldn’t have to match each individual patient to a matching donor.
I’d like to think that for all of those people who are infected; news like this shows them no one is going to give up on them no matter how tough an illness it is. That’s what Howie was always worried about, people just giving up on a cure. I hope this leads to it, and I hope up in heaven he knows how many people will live now because of the hard work of doctors, and researchers who are trying to cure this difficult illness.
Read the case study here: Blood Journal