25th Anniversary of AIDS

TUESDAY 5-27-08…The anniversary passed without much fanfare last week. It was back on May 20th 1983 when a team from France’s Pasteur Institute, led by Luc Montagnier, described a suspect virus found in a patient who had died of what we now called AIDS. According to British newspapers, the key had been found to understanding the mysterious immune-ravaging disease, the newspapers referred to as the “gay plague”.

U.S. Health Secretary Margaret Heckler is quoted as saying back then “Today’s discovery represents the triumph of science over the dreaded disease known medically as GRID (Gay related Immune Deficiency.) We hope to have a vaccine ready in about two years.”

By 1985, because of opposition from some circles, the medical community changed the name GRID, to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.) Today, the death toll stands at 25 million dead, and 33 million infected. Is it any wonder the anniversary came and went without fanfare? There’s nothing to celebrate!

Oh…..I take that back. Gay Pride is celebrated in our schools, and elsewhere around the country. Our state supreme court has even declared it legal for men to marry men, and women to marry women. Gay pride celebrations and parades are conducted in many cities and towns across America.

It’s no wonder that Lars Kallings, Swedish microbiologist and founding president of the International AIDS society gives such a bleak assessment of the future. He says “HIV/AIDS may never disappear from mankind.”

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