Friday, October 28, 2016

I'm very happy that Patient Zero was exonerated, even if however many years after the fact

Image result for patient zero

In terms of medicine, particularly with especially such scary and ugly illnesses as AIDS, the answer is rarely as simple as the medical scientists charged with finding its genesis initially concluded. I'm glad that, however many years after the fact, poor Gaetan Dugas has been exonerated as the absolute link. From available information, he probably did his share in spreading the illness (not at the time having any idea even of the existence of  AIDS ) but sharing the disease and being its very introduction to the north-western world are two entirely different things. 

In a related topic, an AIDS (or HIV -- I'm not sure which) vaccine is to be tested in South Africa.  While I'm glad someone somewhere is developing the vaccine, I'm equally glad that the initial activity is taking place somewhere other than here. I'd prefer for the guinea pigs be those who have less to lose because of their incredibly high incidence of the illness in the first place. 

I am a bit afraid of medical personnel -- particularly third-and-fourth-year students, interns and residents, having the vaccine forced upon them before the safety of the vaccine as been established. (Having it be FDA-approved and having the safety truly established are not necessarily one and the same.)  These are people -- med students, interns, and residents -- who are especially vulnerable and who have little job or continued program participation protection.  It's not beyond credulity (is this correct use of the word? Where is Jaci when I need her? I'm not sure if she's speaking to me right now) that a program would toss out med school students, residents, or interns for refusal to undergo the vaccines before they're proven to be safe enough for general use. There's a limit to how far institutions could be allowed to push it where we're concerned, but whatever the limits are, some institutions would push to the very extent of those limits. My school is one of the more forward-thinking and student-oriented schools around, yet my well-being hasn't entirely been first and foremost in the decision-making processes of anyone here regarding my prophylactic treatment in my current situation.

Ultimately a vaccine needs to be available. Before its use is widespread or before it is mandated for anyone, whether it be for medical personnel or incoming kindergartners, it needs to be examined thoroughly for safety, including longitudinally. In our endeavor to rid the world of this ugly malady, let us not unintentionally give the illness to an entire generation. Furthermore, let us not give the autism/vaccine link anti-immunization zealots any more ammunition that they already have.  Society does not need to deal with a world-wide outbreak of pertussis or measles just because the AIDS vaccine was forced on the public before being adequately researched and scrutinized. While there might seem like little to no connection, I assured you there IS.

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