36 Years Ago Monday — And A Look Back To A November 2010 Post: HIV History

It was 36 long years ago, this morning, as I was starting one last summer in the hard rock mines, and preparing to head east, to enter law school, in Chicago — that an official weekly report from the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta happened to detail the oddly clustered cases of five men in Los Angeles, afflicted with a rare form of pneumonia, and a rare form of skin cancer, called Kaposi’s sarcoma. This would be the first official clinical recognition of a set of repeating symptoms that would later be named AIDS — and then, traced to a virus, ultimately named HIV.

While so much has happened in the intervening history of the public funding for, and reaction to, that fraught disease — much still needs to be done. To be sure, for over a decade, it has been quite a survivable diagnosis (at least in post-industrial geographies), with proper early medical intervention, and access to extremely expensive treatments, like Merck’s Isentress®. [The image at right is derived, and updated, from this November 2010 AIDS activism post — addressing the plight so much of the rest of the world still faces, in HIV.]

I just wanted to use this moment’s passing — to remind all assembled here that science can conquer even our most dread scourges — but doing so takes real money. Real money, and sound thinking, from policy-makers.

In 2017, it is (as just one example) a national disgrace that Texas holds the highest maternal childbirth mortality rate, in the developed world.

We need sensible, and comprehensive health care delivery and reimbursement policy — not clap-trap and non-sense from our elected President. A tweaked ObamaCare 2.0 style system, along the lines proposed by Senator Cassidy, from Louisiana (i.e., passing the “Kimmel test“) — may be at least one imperfect but plausible way forward. We shall see — g’night. . . .

Be better — much better — to all you meet tomorrow — better than you need to be, as luminous but clear dawn rises. I flat-out dare you.



One Response

  1. What is your point in mentioning Merck’s Isentress? It was the first HIV integrase inhibitor approved by the FDA thus worthy of note. But it has been surpassed since then by Vitekata (Gilead), Tivicay (VIIV) and before long, would be by bictegravir (Gilead when it is approved later this year or early next year).

    I have not witnessed any continuous improvement in Merck’s HIV pipeline since the Isentress launch and little innovation in HIV R&D.

    More importantly, what is Merck’s future strategy (or lack there of) for HIV? Did Ken Frazier or Roger Perlmutter say anything recently? I am not aware of. Are you?

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