Tag Archives: HIV

AIDS: Thru a glass darkly

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   AIDS Cases by Exposure Category and Year of Report 1985-1996, United States. CDC/NCHSTP/DHAP/Jean G. Smith. Courtesy of Public Health Image Library. Via Public Domain Files. Public domain. I sat in the deep, cool shade of a stout, leafy Texas cedar escaping the torrid summer heat, idle thoughts meandering. […]

Book Review: Female innovators who changed our world: how women shaped STEM

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, England, United Kingdom   Cover of Female innovators who changed our world: how women shaped STEM by Emma Shimizu. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) play an important part in our lives. The march of scientific and technological progress continues unabated and is responsible for revolutionizing life in the modern world. […]

Dr. Joycelyn Elders: an unwelcome prophet

Howard Fischer  Uppsala, Sweden   Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General. From the National Institutes of Health. Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. “No prophet is welcome in his hometown.” — The Gospel of Saint Luke, 4:24. New American Standard Bible   Joycelyn Elders, MD (b. 1933) was Surgeon General of the United States of America from […]

The wonderful world of vaccines

Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first […]

Book Review: The Origins of AIDS

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The Origins of AIDS, Jacques Pépin. This is a revised and updated edition of a book first published in 2011. This edition is timely, as this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the first descriptions of the disease today known as AIDS. In 1981 Gottlieb and co-workers […]

“Do I look gay to you?”

Elena Hill New York, United States   Joaquim, Refugee, Tijuana 2020. Richard Hill. When I first went to Tijuana to the US-Mexican border to volunteer as a physician, I was expecting to see women fleeing abuse, men escaping gang violence, and families pursuing a better life. I was not expecting to see a large LGBTQ […]

COVID-19 and the Black Death

Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter […]

Have we learned anything from 1918-1919 influenza?

Edward Winslow Wilmette, Illinois, United States   Actual daily deaths from influenza, September to November 1918. Monthly Bulletin of the Department of Health, December 1918. NYC Municipal Library. Source.  The 2020 viral pandemic (COVID-19),1 in spite of being caused by a novel virus family, bears striking epidemiological and social resemblance to the influenza pandemic of 1918.2 […]

Ladies in red: medical and metaphorical reflections on La Traviata

Milad Matta Gregory Rutecki Lyndhurst, Ohio, United States   Illustration by Jason Malmberg. “. . . phthisic beauty[’s] . . . most famous operatic embodiment was Violetta Valery . . .This physical type became not only fashionable but sexy . . . When a society does not understand—and cannot control—a disease, ground seems to open […]

Danse of the virus

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   HIV infecting a lymphocyte. © iStockphoto It is born with tens of thousands of identical brothers and sisters when the thin-walled, transparent, fatty bubble of their nurturing womb suddenly bursts—releasing them into the tumultuary rapids of the host’s bloodstream. It possesses no sense of self, no manner of […]