BANGKOK - For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.Today on Facebook a friend posted to my home page the question "What are your thoughts?" along with the link to the MSNBC article above. My first thought was "GREAT!" Then, as you would suspect, the rest of my mind kicked in.
The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results “instilled new hope” in the field of HIV vaccine research, although researchers say it likely is many years before a vaccine might be available.
Yes, overall, I'm SUPER pleased! It's a very small step. It was only effective in 30% of the cases and it is really only effective on one of the strains in Thailand. BUT that's all more than we had last year.
What made me even consider a dark cloud about this was the line in the article that says it is likely to be "many years before a vaccine might be available".
and that pig hit the fan last year!
Why am I bitching about that? Because if in the early 1980's HIV had been touted as the cataclysmic, earth shaking bug that Swine Flu is now, we could be enjoying the fruits of HIV research NOW... not YEARS from now. But because it was first called "Gay Cancer" then called "Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease" or GRID the general (i.e. religious republicans...) wouldn't touch it. Many were saying it was God's punishment on the Gays.
It was several years and hundreds (if not thousands) of AIDS related deaths after the discovery before our "beloved" president, who is SUPPOSED to represent EVERY American even said the words HIV and AIDS in public. Until then nothing was being done. People were dying and no one in the establishment gave a rat's ass because who's going to miss a few fags out in San Francisco?
A group called ACTUP decided they'd had enough of seeing their friends die; dropping like flies around them. My guess is that less than 10% of the people reading this post truly know what that is like. ACTUP did just that... They acted up! In the joking words of my faux family back in South Carolina they "Showed ass at....." and fill in the blank where applicable.
I don't want to turn this into a rant the length of the Bible, but if you heard me say anything even minutely negative about the great leap forward in AIDS research that we experienced this week, I wanted you to know why. This is a GREAT DAY!!!! I'm just disappointed it couldn't have been August 8, 2001.
So back to the sunshine that today is! It is a great leap forward and we're that much closer to finding a vaccine to prevent and then hopefully one to cure.