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December 24, 1996: Hope's reward.

It is astounding to realize that the widespread use of protease inhibitors began only four years ago. As Advocate senior news editor John Gallagher reported in 1996, with "the advent of a new class of drugs and a new way of measuring HIV ... the world of AIDS has completely changed. Suddenly patients, health care workers, and AIDS organizations are confronted with something that they hadn't dared let themselves imagine. They are dealing with hope." Gallagher chronicled stories of dramatic recovery and inspiration.

The story cautioned, however, that some people experienced side effects that forced them to go off the medications. Also, many were unable to afford the drugs, while others could not manage the complicated regimen required. For others, some of whom had maxed out credit cards, sold life insurance policies, and gone on permanent disability in anticipation of death, the success of protease inhibitors created the daunting complication of a now-extended life.

Yet as one survivor said, "When this thing first started to break, I thought, I might actually make it through this thing and do the greatest `I gotcha' on the universe.... It's going to be a longer road, with more side detours than any of us particularly wanted to have. But hope has many different shades to it.... That's the life of someone living with HIV."
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Article Details
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Author:Romesburg, Don
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 23, 2000
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