Rather a change in only a generation, no?

HIV may reduce patients longevity by 5 years

A generation back it was reducing life expectancy by 50 years or so with no “may” about it at all.

All told I’d chalk that up as a pretty good performance by the medicine complex really. Sometime in the mid-1990s I think it changed? Not quite overnight but not far off it, from a diagnosis being equivalent to an imminent death sentence to a chronic and manageable disease that doesn’t really make all that much difference.

Can’t remember who first made this point, might even have been me. If Freddy Mercury had lived another two years or so then he’d likely be alive today.

21 thoughts on “Rather a change in only a generation, no?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    It is amazing what can be done if you have the political muscle to get any amount of money spent on research and ethics laws loosened up.

    Now if only heterosexual people and their diseases were taken so seriously. Compare with antibiotic resistance.

  2. In fairness, Antibiotic resistance is a different bag of fish. That’s about changing the behaviours of every dispensing doc and the expectations of every patient with a cough, cold or virus.

    Retrovirals for HIV was just developing a new drug and field trials for drug combinations.

    A neighbour is a research chemist looking at viruses that can be used in place of antibiotics, which was an area of research started by the Russians back in the 1960’s. She’s confident that this will sort this the problem in a much longer term way than penicillin. She spends half her time coming up with amusing names for promising clades. I think she wants people to be going to the docs asking for cocksquirters for their chest andso on.

  3. Much as I loved Freddie, musically speaking it may have been better that he died. His music was on a steep downhill trajectory. I shudder to think of the awfulness of what he’d be doing now had he lived.

    Just as it would have been unquestionably better, musically speaking, if Elton John had succeeded in his suicide attempt in the 70’s. Think of all the musical bilge (plus the tedious tabloid reports and questionable legal actions) we would have been spared.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    If Freddy Mercury had lived another two years or so then he’d likely be alive today.

    Is TW trolling his comment base? After all, there are a variety of possible responses to that comment.

    Tastelessness aside, it is the Kennedy Paradox. JFK and Bobby died young and so we remember them are youthful, idealistic and full of promise. Teddy didn’t. We remember him as the sexist traitorous pig he was. If only he went down with, or better instead of, Mary Jo.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    John square – “In fairness, Antibiotic resistance is a different bag of fish.”

    Not really. Everything is going to be resistant in the end. It wouldn’t matter if we were developing new drugs. We aren’t. Not because there aren’t new drugs out there but because no one wants to get sued. Penicillin would never get approval these days.

    HIV is easier to work with – the gays lobbied and got an exemption from normal trial requirements and they are dying anyway. How can they prove the drugs did them in rather than all the crystal meth?

    Tel – “I shudder to think of the awfulness of what he’d be doing now had he lived.”

    Royal Command performance? But let’s think positive. Maybe he would have done an Elvis and moved to Vegas.

  6. I won’t hear a word against Freddie! If he’d lived the last two Queen albums wouldn’t have been written by a group who knew their singer was dying / dead.

    At least, if Freddie had lived, Brian and Roger wouldn’t be hawking their back catalogue as much as they do.

  7. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    And Rudolf Nearenough ! My missus locked herself in the bathroom for days when he pegged it. I had to go and live with my Mum, till she calmed down.

  8. SMFS, I’d be interested to learn of the “exemption to normal trial requirements” that gays lobbied for and got.

    Serious question.

  9. IIRC large scale field trials of drugs weren’t possible in the way they now occur prior to HIV.

    Whether this is a good thing or not is a matter for interpretation.

    Intellectual honesty requires that I point out humanity hadn’t encountered a 100% lethal, long onset viral disease previously: we were in a pandemic before we knew what was happening. It may be that the change in field trials was an appropriate response to the problem at hand.

  10. Oh and:

    “HIV is easier to work with – the gays lobbied and got an exemption from normal trial requirements and they are dying anyway. How can they prove the drugs did them in rather than all the crystal meth?”

    SMFS: i’m not sure there’s much right in your recollection of events.

    HIV poses a challenge to researchers as it’s a huge virus, and massively more complex than things like filioviruses. Early days, it was seen as utterly lethal, and was treated like a much more dangerous agent- level 3/4 Hot lab environments.

    They did a ton of work to prove that it was s new disease and not a chronic cytomegalovirus infection or new strain of an old virus, nor a side effect of amyl or some other lifestyle drug.

    Aids is now a manageable disease, which, given the efforts and risk involved for everyone seems a good outcome, and as TW says, appropriate given what we know we can achieve with modern medicine.

  11. “Aids is now a manageable disease, which, given the efforts and risk involved for everyone seems a good outcome, and as TW says, appropriate given what we know we can achieve with modern medicine.”

    Which is one of the may reasons the Facebook nonsense posts about “Big Pharma wanting to keep people ill so they can sell them drugs, not cure them” grips my sh1t so effectively.

  12. If Freddy Mercury had lived another two years or so then he’d likely be alive today.

    That’s not actually true. Mercury died in 1991, AIDS deaths peaked in 1995, after which HAART treatment became widely available. And the therapy works better if started early than late, so it took years for mortality rates to fall to today’s level.

    Nevertheless, it’s a triumph for medical science.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “I’d be interested to learn of the “exemption to normal trial requirements” that gays lobbied for and got.”

    The first thing ACT-UP did when it was founded was go to Wall Street and protest against the slow pace of drug approvals. That was its purpose. They insisted that people were dying and so there was no time to do proper clinical trials. They won.

    Big Pharma can get drugs to people with HIV much faster than it can to people with cancer.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “Actually, not gays: HIV sufferers.”

    The second thing ACT-UP did was picket Cosmo for daring to point out that HIV transmission by heterosexual contact was negligible.

  15. “The second thing ACT-UP did was picket Cosmo for daring to point out that HIV transmission by heterosexual contact was negligible.”

    That’s an interesting thing: the strain of Aids in the US is really hard to pass via PIV sex.

    The Asian strain makes the leap via straight sex much more easily.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    John square – “The Asian strain makes the leap via straight sex much more easily.”

    The myth of heterosexual AIDS dies hard.

    Asians are engaging in a whole lot of high risk behaviours. But there is no HIV Explosion. It is almost as if a lack of San Francisco-style bath houses and execution for drug users actually works.

    It is interesting that the Gay lobby insists that we should ignore everywhere we have good data and focus only on those places we do not. Like Africa for instance.

  17. The problem we are facing now is that at least in the West AIDS is now a disease of old age. The manifestations of the disease have changed, at least in large cities, people do not die of Toxoplasmosis of Pneumocystis infection.

    It is politically incorrect to point out that most AIDS in the West in is Gay men, drug abusers and African immigrants.

  18. ‘That’s about changing the behaviours of every dispensing doc and the expectations of every patient with a cough, cold or virus.’

    My niece, a nationally know physician (U.S.), told me 15 years ago that the main problem is that drugs were being sent to Third World countries, where they are improperly administered, due to ignorance or financial reasons (half a dose is cheaper; stopping administering before scheduled to save). Diseases survive to evolve tolerence.

    Then the Third Worlder’s bring their evolved diseases to the First World. Result: New drugs will have a limited useful life.

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    Gamecock – “Then the Third Worlder’s bring their evolved diseases to the First World. Result: New drugs will have a limited useful life.”

    That is certainly what has happened with multiple resistant TB.

    But it is, of course, racist to say so. Rusty and BiG will be along in a second to insult you.

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