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No Cure For AIDS — Just Pricey Life-Saving Drugs

Eric Sawyer was infected with HIV in 1980. Twenty-eight years later, and after the death of countless friends, he is still alive.

In a recent BBC profile, Eric said he worries that the younger generation does not understand the harsh reality of the disease.

Thanks to antiretroviral drugs HIV is no longer a sure death sentence. But from Eric's point-of-view that has made the newer generation less vigilant against infection.

In addition, only those with means have access to the life-saving drugs. Eric, who is upper-middle class and has health insurance, estimates that his drugs cost $40,000 a year. He says: "I can buy life, and that's not fair."


Join The Conversation
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
AIDS is a truly devastating condition. HIV can constantly mutate, which can force patients to switch up their drug regimens. While these drugs can help prolong life, they are not without irritating and sometimes serious side effects. I'm a huge advocate for promoting prevention. We can all help spread the word: the CDC website has tons of information for the public (fact sheets, Q&A, brochures). And hopefully one day there will be a cure.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
hypnoticmix, yeah thats true, its a very rare form, i believe only in a certain european population tho i cant remember which one has that rarity. they are trying to come up with a drug that mimics those genes, but i dunno how far they got. and AIDS only happens when a patients CD4 count falls to a certain level (200 i think) so thats why its so important for patients to take their meds so their immune system stays strong! i guess its hard with all the meds they have to take but there are combo pils available now...
kty kty 8 years
it saddened me to see that people really don't take aids seriously,my mom's best friend has aids,it was given to her by her late husband,who had the most painful death i've ever witnessed,even with all the money he had,it didn't help.they have 2kids,one is 13 and the other 9and they both have it too and sre being treated here in the U.S.even with all those treatments they get sick often and their mom is so scared to lose them so young.aids is a death sentence,and because i've seen the struggles and the pain it caused,i get myself tested every year and protect myself as much as i can.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I have a friend who's positive but he doesn't have to take medication because he is one of the rare individuals that is missing that something the virus needs to attache it self to his cells. However he is still a carrier and can pass it on but it will never be the death of him. I see the gentlemen's point advances in medication have given people a sense of security that they always have that safety net just in case. What they don't realize is the ramifications of the cost to provide such drugs. Now he may be able to afford his drugs and that's great but there are government programs that pay for the drugs if you need them. For instance I take three drugs, three pills once a day, 30 day supply each refile and pay nothing. So I guess I owe all of you a debt of gratitude for keeping me alive. After twelve years I've never been the least bit ill and perfectly healthy so believe it or not I actually have to use post it notes to remind me to take my pills because quite honestly I forget sometimes because I feel so normal.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I was always terrible with taking medication other than birth control. But, if something would keep me alive, I think I would damn sure try to fix that habit. My doctors get so pissed at me, because when I start feeling better I stop taking's not smart, but I'm an idiot. AIDS is not a sinus infection...I wish those kids would know the seriousness of what they are dealing with. Or perhaps they want to forget, and just live a normal life...
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I have people on my caseload that are HIV positive and have full blow AIDS and we pay for 100% of their medication and treatment (till they turn 21) and sadly most of them are noncompliant with the medication and plan of care, they just dont give a rip and think they are immortal.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I think people forget that number one, AIDS itself doesn't kill you, it is something like a cold that kills you because you have AIDS. So many people see those suffering, like Magic Johnson I believe, he is still alive and well...but he pays and arm and a leg to get those drugs that he needs to help him stay alive. We treat AIDS like it doesn't matter because the drugs can prolong your life...but it's like life support without the hospital. If you stop taking them and get sick, you're probably going to die. And even with meds, you're not out of the woods. There are many people who die even while they are on them.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
I was talking about this with some my mom. It seems today that young people seem to "forget" how dangerous this disease it and how easy it is to catch because of a false sense of security about all the new drug cocktails out there. I mean its scary when I hear teens and even people in their 20's talking about "Well, they have great drugs out now that you can pretty much live your life like normal and its no big deal". Back in the 80's and 90's it was hard to find someone not affected by this (friends or family members who died or were suffering), but now people are treating it like a thing of the past. Scary.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
while i'm super happy this one person (and others) are able to pay to stay alive, i think it's common knowledge that AIDS doesn't kill you ASAP...but it IS a sure death sentence. if i got it now and lived 30 years, which would be pretty successful in terms of the average expectancy, probably, i would still die at 55...thats still too young....and your quality of life is shite...AIDS requires a cure!
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