Saturday, June 30, 2007

cure for AIDS in 10 years?

Joachim Hauber of the Heinrich Pette Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology in Hamburg, Germany, is guardedly optimistic.

"We have rid the cells of the virus," Hauber said on Thursday. "No one else has done this before." He called it "a breakthrough in bio-technology."

Hauber said it was his "cautious" hope that a cure for AIDS could be found within 10 years.

The new procedure actually removes the virus from the cells, leaving them healthy again. Exciting stuff. Requires work with stem cells. From Germany's Deutsche Welle.

Update: After I posted this, Brion from New Zealand wrote with the text of an address he's giving at a fundraiser in NZ. I thought it was appropriate to add his words here, as he speaks from the view of being a person living with HIV and having experienced the plague and so many deaths:

"There are any number of reasons why peer support groups, for any number of conditions, medical or otherwise, are the most useful and multi accessed, but also the most underfunded.

One of the purposes of running a peer support group such as 'POZ PLUS' is to increase the options available to positive people, whatever their gender, age , race or sexuality.

Having a condition such as Hiv can seriously limit some of your options. Not everyone with Hiv is able to continue in full time employment. Even part time employment, when suitable and available, doesn't really help to alter the equation.

With the activities we already operate, the most important the monthly luncheons, we hope to involve our members with some of the options they may no longer have the ability to access.

There's a comment I read recently on the internet that has a certain resonance for some of us who have survived fifteen or more years with HIV. When we were told back in the 1980's that we would be "lucky" to live another 10 - 15 years and there are some now past the twenty and mid -twenties mark, we might feel justified in asking for our money back! Certainly the pharmaceuticals that began to become available in
the late 80's and early 90's have made enormous changes.

Some of us can remember those 1980's. It sometimes felt like being at a dinner party when every now and then someone left the table and never returned. Without wishing to sound like it's over egging the custard, there are some of us who look back on those times and mourn the loss of so many of our friends, lovers, companions. We perhaps feel a certain responsibility, perhaps a little guilt, that we survived when so many didn't. I know that for me and some of my colleagues, there is this inner need to do something useful to commemorate those who are no longer with us........."

Maybe in 10 years, more or less, there really will be a cure for this nightmare of a disease. Thanks Brion!!

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Blogger more cowbell said...

That actually gave me goosebumps.

Hey, maybe we'll even have decent health care by then?

June 30, 2007 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Brion. said...

Yeah! We'll wait and see. So many promises and expectations....let's hope those of us still surviving can last that long!

(Check your email Lynette, longer message there!)

Bj in NZ.

June 30, 2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

One can only pray- But yes, there has been huge progress, finally. Just not soon enough, sad to say.

June 30, 2007 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Crixi Van Cheek said...

My Dear first we think how wonderful it will be. A sort of VE day over AIDS. What would we call it? In 1990 "Longtime Companion" an Oscar nominated film about AIDS, portrayed the end by having us re-united with all our loved ones on the beach on Fire Island. Sadly, nearly everyone in the film is now dead. Including my bright eyed friend Frankie. I sometimes wonder myself, what would it be like? I got the virus on 11/26/89. I found out, and got sick April Fool's Day, 1991. Now, all these years later, after having watched way too many people breath their last I find I have very few tears left, but a reservoir of rage. When I was in school I saw news reels from the end of WWII showing survivors of the Nazi Death Camps being liberated. I used to wonder why they just didn't run for the open gates the minute they were freed. They sort of scraggled towards their liberators. They were wide eyed and skeptical as they were let out of that hell. Of course the cameras focused on the weakest, the rail thin "walking corpses". But in the background and to the sides were the people that had arrived at the camps later, who were still relatively healthy. What were they to feel? Are they less relieved since they have suffered for a shorter period of time? Do they stifle their joy in the presence of those who have suffered unimaginable pain and loss? And so it may be when they announce a cure for AIDS. Will I be entitled to joy? Or will I feel too much guilt for having been one of the survivors? How many more accomplished people died before me? My first love, a handsome young doctor, such a waste they all said. But me, just a blue collar kind of guy, why me, why did I make it? Yes, yes, the Mary Ann Williamson profiteers will all have reasons for me to 'embrace' my feelings and live in some spirit, some moment. But fuck them all, they just wrote books and got rich while our bowels rotted. Will I walk out of the camp, or will I run? Do I have any run left in me? Will I want to go back and scoop up the ashes of my friends or will I not look back and wash that whole dirty virus off me in a marathon shower? What will I do when there is a cure? Will the Glaxos and Squibbies mourn their lost protease profits as much as we mourn our dead? Or, will we meet at the corner of Gay St. and Christopher and as our friend Joe.My.God would say: "They tried to kill us, they didn't, let's dance" ?

July 02, 2007 9:34 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

crixi, honey, i took your words and made a whole new post out of them. thank you for writing this. i adore you.

July 08, 2007 12:07 PM  

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