Thank heavens for Bill and Melinda Gates ['Size Does Matter,' November 2003]! It seems like every time I read about yet another bottleneck in appropriating AIDS funds'both for programs at home and abroad'the bad news is balanced out with a story about the Gates Foundation coming to the rescue with tens of millions in grants. Frankly, HIV microbicide and vaccine research, though still woefully underfunded, would be years further behind had it not been for the foresight and generosity of the Gateses in supporting studies. The entire world owes this couple, and their amazing charitable foundation, an enormous thank you.
I Want a New Drug
Is it just me or do there actually seem to be valid reasons to be optimistic about the new anti-HIV medications in development ['Antiretrovirals: The Next Generation']? With what appears to be a bumper crop of experimental drugs in novel classes and forthcoming improvements to already existing drugs, it would appear that therapy truly is poised to become stronger, easier, and less toxic'a welcome development for all of us who have taken meds for years.
Of course, living in a rich country, I am fairly confident I will be among the first to have access to these new drugs as they pass through the approvals process. I suspect our HIV-positive brothers and sisters in the developing world, who cannot afford even the cheapest existing antiretorivals, are somewhat less enthusiastic about these medication breakthroughs.
via the Internet
Keeping Us Abreast
Sue Rochman's article about having both HIV and breast cancer was a real eye-opener ['Double Diagnosis']. Although messages about breast health and breast cancer awareness are fairly commonplace in health care, Rochman's story about the specific breast-cancer or HIV-related complications that can arise through a double diagnosis should be read by all HIV-positive women and by all caregivers. For example, I had no idea that one should never combine AZT with standard breast cancer chemotherapy, or that HIV disease progression can be accelerated by some chemotherapy drugs. Although this is information I sincerely hope never to have to use firsthand, I am grateful it was made available to me because it could one day save my life.
Science Versus Ideology
I read with great concern about President Bush and his administration routinely disregarding science in favor of right-wing ideology when it comes to HIV prevention and abstinence-only sex education ['A Congressional Report Accuses President Bush of Distorting HIV Science to Support His Ideology,' News]. It is terrifying to think that Bush and company are so desperate to cater to the ultraconservative branch of their political party that they are willing to put the lives and futures of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative Americans at risk with their misguided policies.
I certainly hope HIV Plus'and all your readers'will continue to keep a close eye on how the Administration is corrupting the very fundamentals of U.S. science and medical research and to keep those decidedly uncompassionate conservative actions in mind when we all go to the polls in November.
New York City