A memorial honoring victims of the AIDS epidemic sits across the street from the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site in New York City, where many of the early victims of AIDS were diagnosed. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
It’s been two decades since we established effective treatment against HIV, rendering what was nearly always a fatal infection to a chronic, manageable condition.
I remember one of the first AIDS patients I met as a medical student in the mid-90s: Harry, a young man losing his sight from an opportunistic infection called CMV retinitis. We had only one drug we could give him to try to stop him from going blind.
Ganciclovir was horrible. Given intravenously, it burned at the infusion site, made him severely nauseous, and caused his already-low blood count