KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

At The 30 Year Mark, AIDS Epidemic Still Poses Challenges

The Miami Herald: Age Of AIDS: 30 Years After Medical Mystery, Patients Survive
Thirty years after America started battling HIV/AIDS, deaths linked to the virus have plummeted. New HIV cases are down by three-quarters. Life expectancy has more than tripled. Many HIV-positive people lead active lives, often on a single pill a day. But there's a darker side: More than 1.2 million Americans still are living with HIV/AIDS, and 40,000 new infections and 16,000 deaths are expected this year. Drugs to combat the virus can cost $20,000 or more a year per patient. … Worse, some researchers say they're detecting a new HIV threat called "immuno-senescence" - a premature aging of the immune system caused by hidden reservoirs of virus even in patients apparently well controlled on drugs. … As AIDS nears its 30th anniversary on June 5, there is both hope and concern (Tasker, 5/28).

The Miami Herald: South Florida AIDS Activist Dab Garner Lives With HIV Since Beginning Of Epidemic
Richard "Dab" Garner has lived with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic 30 years ago. He has outlived his best friend, two life partners and a 4-year-old foster daughter. Each died of AIDS. … But with new drugs developed in the mid-'90s, more people are living with AIDS. Some, like Garner, have likely survived due to genetic anomalies that give them an extra edge. Others have benefited from HIV-suppressant drugs (Rothaus, 5/28).

The New York Times: 30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS
As AIDS has become entrenched in the United States and elsewhere, a new generation has grown up with little if any knowledge of those dark early days. But they are worth recalling, as a cautionary tale about the effects of the bafflement and fear that can surround an unknown disease and as a reminder of the sweeping changes in medical practice that the epidemic has brought about (Altman, 5/30)

The Washington Post: Tough Decisions About Money And Treatment Are Ahead As AIDS Turns 30
The AIDS epidemic turns 30 next month. What began as a fatal new plague has become a treatable, if still incurable, chronic illness. That change counts as a triumph by any measure, but it also poses an unusually difficult question for the next 30 years: How many people do we want to save from a death by AIDS - and who's going to pay for it? (Brown, 5/30).

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