Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Study Continues toward Goal of an Aids Cure

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Study Continues toward Goal of an Aids Cure

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I am a 15-year-old. Both of my parents are infected with the AIDS virus. I am worried about them and their later years. I wonder if all the money raised for AIDS is being put to research or only into doctors' paychecks.

You and your family have been dealt a terrible misfortune. It makes one ponder the limitations of medical science.

After more than a decade of research, we have no cure for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, no vaccine to prevent it.

The grim statistics are these: About half of those infected with the human immunodeficiency virus die in 10 years. About 40 percent show evidence of profound disturbance of their immune systems in that time, and they develop minor symptoms that often progress to major disabilities.

On the bright side, about 10 percent of those infected with HIV show no signs whatever of the illness after much longer than 10 years. In fact, studying why that should be is one promising avenue toward a potential cure.

I don't know if your parents are among those 10 percent of what we call "non-progressors." It is a hope worth nourishing.

Your skepticism regarding fund-raising is understandable. Much of the money raised for AIDS is earmarked for treatment of those who have the syndrome. Money for AIDS research is, so far as I can say, directed toward that end. I believe that to be so.

*****

Dear Dr. Donohue: Three years ago, my husband had a heart bypass operation. Since then, he has had terrible night leg cramps. He is in great pain. His cardiologist says he has a lack of potassium because of his medicine, but potassium medicine doesn't help. Neither does vitamin E. We wonder if you have some suggestions.

I cannot relate your husband's leg cramps to his bypass surgery per se. I had never heard that connection before. …

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