A generation with AIDS comes of age

Back in the 80s and early 90s people with HIV infection didn’t have a great prognosis, and not many folks thought there was much of a chance for them. But as USA Today reports (A generation born with HIV/AIDS defies the odds) some kids born during that time are thriving, thanks to the advent of antiretroviral therapies.

[B]abies who were born with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s have defied initial expectations.

With advances in medicine, the babies born with what was once thought of as a sure-fatal virus have danced at their high school proms, walked on stage to receive their diplomas and even experienced the birth of their children.

The story brought back memories of a situation I witnessed in 1995 on a flight between Raleigh Durham and Boston. There was a stir in the back of the plane because people were refusing to sit near a little girl who was traveling  alone. I didn’t hear exactly what was going on but am almost sure she had AIDS. Finally a man in first class with an open seat next to him (remember those days?) told the flight attendant to have her sit with him. She came up there hugging her teddy bear and slept through the whole flight.

This was well past the time that it had become clear that the HIV virus couldn’t be passed through casual contact, yet this little girl had to endure the ostracism along with the disease itself. I felt terrible for her.

I hope she’s one of those whose grown up and in good health. If she’s lucky maybe she’ll even live to see a cure.

June 23, 2009

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