Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Drug Stabbing Time

Andrew Sullivan, writing about his viral load (he's HIV+):

Got new data this week about my virus. You may recall that I went back on meds because my viral load, after three years of stability at around 20,000 copies per mililiter of my blood, went to 60,000 and then 140,000. After ten days of medication, it came down to 1,500. By now, it should be zero. The drugs are amazing and I barely notice them at all any more the side effects are so minor. I guess I should add that these not atypical results show that although basic scientific research must be funded by government, the "evil" pharmaceutical companies are, in fact, among the most beneficent organizations in the history of mankind and their research in the last couple of decades will one day be recognized as the revolution it truly is. Yes, they're motivated by profits. Duh. That's the genius of capitalism - to harness human improvement to the always-reliable yoke of human greed. Long may those companies prosper. I owe them literally my life.

I suppose when you have a cut-and-dried viral infection like HIV or Malaria or Hepatitis, the temptation to dabble in New Age bollox like Homeopathy or "faith healing" or "bio-energy" or whatever, is reduced somewhat - because it's bloody obvious those treatments are utterly worthless and could get you killed. With other ailments, especially those whose symptoms are unseen to some degree, or cancer, which is always thought of as one disease but is, in fact, a whole host of diseases grouped under one name, it's a lot easier for the snake-oil salesmen to convince the ignorant that medicine is failing them and that the mystical alternatives (I hate using the word alternative - it implies an equivalence that is wholly undeserved) are genuinely going to help/cure the person. More stories like Sullivan's should be quoted to send the charlatans out of business.
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