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Researchers: AIDS Superbug Does Not Exist

WestsideNew York magazine exposes how AIDS politics within the medical community and the tragic crystal meth problem within the gay community caused a hysteria around Patient Zero, a man determined to have a superbug that caused him to develop full-blown AIDS within months of transmission.

"After the frenzy died down, however, the new epidemic began to look a lot less fearsome. In fact, on closer examination, almost everything about this case seems murky. An investigation by the Department of Health turned up no evidence that the New York man passed the virus to anybody. And on March 29, the department put out a press release saying that the patient was responding well to his medications."

This is a sobering article that conveys not only deeply troubling things about the politics and marketing of medicine, but also illustrates how quickly the spread of information can create widespread panic. I do think, however, that the wake-up call this false superbug story gave to the gay community was an important one, and I hope that efforts to quell the epidemic of unsafe sex and crystal meth destroying so many lives does not fall by the wayside now that an "all clear" has been sounded.

The Invention of Patient Zero [new york metro]
(via sploid)

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  1. Shocking.

    Posted by: david | Apr 25, 2005 12:11:20 PM

  2. I am never, ever going to gave sex again. It will all be about self-love for me from now on. Hello TLA and World of Video.!!

    Posted by: gabe | Apr 25, 2005 2:16:48 PM

  3. The story said that health department officials weren't able to contact many of the man's sexual contacts because they were anonymous. With that in mind, it seems questionable to claim definitively that he hasn't passed on this strain. The fact remains that he has a highly mutated virus that is very difficult to treat; and that strain contributed to the destruction of his immune system in a very short period of time. The plot hasn't unfolded like your typical Hollywood bio-thriller, with scores of people dropping like flies in very short order--which is no doubt disappointing to our breathless media--but does that make this story "false" or any less frightening? His bug still sounds awfully "super" to me.

    Posted by: Tom | Apr 25, 2005 2:52:16 PM

  4. Great. Another excuse for gay men to resume killing one another. Party on, dudes.

    Posted by: alan | Apr 25, 2005 3:55:42 PM

  5. Mutated virus or not, there is still the question of what causes the rapid deterioration that this individual exhibited, in the article it's suggested that individual factors (biological) play a part in said rapid loss of function.

    From my understanding, HIV mutates at the drop of a pin, which should make all strains of the virus "awfully super" by that criterion.

    With the numbers of people infected in the millions, this has been a superbug from the beginning...

    Posted by: WM | Apr 25, 2005 5:39:39 PM

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