Friday, April 07, 2006

Cold chills

Every once in a while, something just gives you cold chills.

Think about the struggle that it is to keep your life on a rigid schedule so that you can remember to take your medications at the same time each day. Think about the panic that comes when you realize that you were so tired last night that you just fell asleep without taking the evening dose. Think about the awful taste in your throat as something, who knows what, seems to want to reassert itself. Think about having your world narrow to the fight that is going on in your bloodstream, a fight that dominates everything else that you might ever have cared about.

Then think about having your white blood cells reengineered to cut out a chunk of the HI virus before it gets a chance to replicate. Whack! Take that! And your viral load falls. And you don't have to take the meds any more because your blood just won the battle.

It's not a cure, but it's close enough for life to become ever so much sweeter.

Of course, at that point, you know I would start nagging about complacency and the need for ever greater vigilence in prevention. If this dream comes true--and Johnson and Johnson is apparently working hard to make it come true--anti-HIV ribozyme probably won't be cheap. That's not a dig at J&J; they are surely spending a bundle on the research right now. If the treatment is not cheap, then many people will not have access to it, just as many people do not have access to the medications that we use today. It's just a fact that no modern medical "miracle" is going to end the need for prevention.

But you're allowed to dream a little.

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