A Cure for HIV? Hallelujah

‘Let’s bottle up that magic potion and get it shipped! How exciting that millions of mothers and babies in Africa dying of AIDS will soon be cured. How exciting that we won’t lose another generation of young gay men and MSM in the US to AIDS.’

I was stunned to read the dramatic and simplistic headlines that a cure has been found for HIV.

A friend wrote and asked, “News or Tabloid?”

Unfortunately, both. The headlines, as we’ve come to expect are attention-grabbing tabloid-worthy voids of tangible information. One of the central points not just ignored or overlooked, but buried, by so many news sources was the challenge of replicability. There were so many spontaneous, unpredictable factors that played a contributing role in this specific case and limiting factors, especially eligible matches found in time, that replicability is a long way off. One cured patient, as brilliant and exciting and newsworthy as that is, does not give media license to portray it as easy and accessible as a vaccine. That misinformation leads to dismissal – well, that one’s cured, we can stop paying attention; there’s a cure for it now, so safer-sex is out.

So far, the best explanation of how doctors in Berlin cured a man of HIV comes from WebMD. If you come across other non-hysterical, respectable descriptions, please let me know.