Good News and Bad About Aids

October 6, 1989

Report Outline
Special Focus


There is still no “cure” for AIDS, but there are now drugs to treat it—to prolong the lives of people who have the disease and to stave off the disease in people who are infected with the AIDS virus but show few or no symptoms. Nevertheless, as AIDS continues to affect in disproportionate numbers the people who can least afford treatment, there are ominous signs for the social, political and economic future.

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There has been a subtle change in the nature of AIDS. Contracting the disease still means certain death, but doctors and patients have stopped sitting around waiting for it to happen. That's because with aggressive medical care, people infected with the virus that causes AIDS—called HIV, for human immunodeficiency virus—can prolong their health and their lives. In fact, new drug therapies may be turning HIV infection into a long-term chronic problem that some day may be akin to diabetes: a serious disease, but one you can live with if you treat it properly.

Almost from the beginning of the epidemic, AIDS patients have taken medical care into their own hands. They have demanded treatment, and they have set up underground networks to obtain unapproved but promising AIDS drugs. At first, the medical establishment objected, but now, in many ways, it has come around. The federal government is giving its approval for the use of many more experimental drugs, and it has opened up some of its own testing programs to allow greater access to AIDS drugs still in clinical trials,

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
AIDS/HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sep. 18, 2012  Conquering AIDS
Oct. 2009  Rescuing Children
Oct. 26, 2007  Battling HIV/AIDS
Dec. 03, 2004  Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Oct. 13, 2000  Global AIDS Crisis
Dec. 04, 1998  AIDS Update
Apr. 21, 1995  Combating AIDS
Dec. 25, 1992  Women and AIDS
Oct. 06, 1989  Good News and Bad About Aids
Dec. 16, 1988  AIDS Update
Nov. 06, 1987  AIDS Dilemmas
Aug. 09, 1985  AIDS: Spreading Mystery Disease
Jan. 19, 1979  Venereal Disease: Continuing Problem
Jun. 10, 1960  Venereal Disease Control
Jan. 09, 1943  Venereal Disease in the Armed Forces
Oct. 25, 1938  Control of Venereal Diseases