Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Personal views

AIDS: a cause for optimism?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 30 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1179
  1. Balaji Ravichandran, editor, studentBMJ
  1. bravichandran{at}

Humanity is no stranger to global catastrophes. We've faced outbreaks of plague, influenza, and cholera and lost millions to natural and manmade disasters. What then, merits the special status that HIV/AIDS has been accorded? Besides, as some experts in the West increasingly argue, with the increased availability of antiretroviral drugs, there is no reason why it should be anything more than a chronic disease if patients follow their multidrug regimen. Future historians may well agree with this premise, but it would be purblind to subscribe to this view now.

In the 25 years that HIV has been with us, the disease has brought out the best and the worst of people. Early outbursts of xenophobia and bigotry were strong, and many areas still have hostile attitudes to infected patients, particularly in places with a high burden of the disease. Such attitudes haven't …

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