A Plague on All Our Houses: Medical Intrigue, Hollywood, and the Discovery of AIDS by Bruce J. HillmanA frightening new plague. A medical mystery. A pioneering immunologist. In A Plague on All Our Houses, Dr. Bruce J. Hillman dissects the war of egos, money, academic power, and Hollywood clout that advanced AIDS research even as it compromised the career of the scientist who discovered the disease.
At the beginning of the worldwide epidemic soon to be known as AIDS, Dr. Michael Gottlieb was a young immunologist new to the faculty of UCLA Medical Center. In 1981 he was brought in to consult on a battery of unusual cases: four formerly healthy gay men presenting with persistent fever, weight loss, and highly unusual infections. Other physicians around the country had noted similar clusters of symptoms, but it was Gottlieb who first realized that these patients had a new and deadly disease. He also identified the defect in their immune system that allowed the disease to flourish. He published his findings in a now-iconic lead article in the New England Journal of Medicine--an impressive achievement for such a young scientist--and quickly became the focal point of a whirlwind of panic, envy, desperation, and distrust that played out against a glittering Hollywood backdrop.
Courted by the media, the gay community, and the entertainment industry, Gottlieb emerged as the medical face of the terrifying new epidemic when he became personal physician to Rock Hudson, the first celebrity AIDS patient. With Elizabeth Taylor he cofounded the charitable foundation amfAR, which advanced public awareness of AIDS and raised vast sums for research, even as it struggled against political resistance that began with the Reagan administration and trickled down through sedimentary layers of bureaucracy. Far from supporting him, the UCLA medical establishment reacted with dismay to Gottliebs early work on AIDS, believing it would tarnish the reputation of the Medical Center. Denied promotion and tenure in 1987, Gottlieb left UCLA for private practice just as the National Institutes of Health awarded the institution a $10 million grant for work he had pioneered there. In the thirty-five years since the discovery of AIDS, research, prevention, and clinical care have advanced to the point that the disease is no longer the death sentence it once was. Gottliebs seminal article is now regarded by the New England Journal of Medicine as one of the most significant publications of its two-hundred-year history.
A Plague on All Our Houses offers a ringside seat to one of the most important medical discoveries and controversies of our time.
Reagan Administration's Chilling Response to the AIDS Crisis
Timeline of HIV/AIDS
That was the question Mark S. King said he had to ask himself in the early '80s when friends and loved ones were dying of the "gay plague. On March 15, , King received a call from his friend, a nurse, who had discreetly tested him for the virus — he was positive. It was like a 'Twilight Zone' episode where everyone in town just starts disappearing. Mark S. In fact, activists were urging people not to take it.
The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically CD4 cells or T cells. The virus is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, anal fluids, and breast milk. Historically, HIV has most often been spread through unprotected sex, the sharing of needles for drug use, and through birth. A person with AIDS is very vulnerable to cancer and to life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia. Scientists have traced the origin of HIV back to chimpanzees and simian immunodeficiency virus SIV , an HIV-like virus that attacks the immune system of monkeys and apes.
It took a few tries. The virus lurked in tropical regions of central Africa, and made several incursions into the American continent before becoming a global pandemic. HIV likely killed a young man in St. Louis in , just one month before the Stonewall riots. By then, the sexual revolution was in full swing and HIV was spreading silently among gay male populations in large American cities.
What is HIV?
By the time he leaves office it provides medicine for 2 million Africans. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia., The 80's by Justin garcia.
Second, not only has the agent been identified, but a new process has been developed to mass produce this virus. Thirdly, with the discovery of both the virus and this new process, we now have a blood test for AIDS. Her hastily arranged press conference was full of blunders—she jumped the gun by several weeks because of a press leak, claimed U. Yet the announcement had epochal impact. It revealed the source of what would soon become one of the worst plagues in human history, and it sparked scientific and social revolutions that are still playing out today.