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Page #57

NOVEMBER 26, 2010
CARSON CITY
MOTHER ABIGAIL'S STUDY

Q: I arrived a little after noon at MAs and we settled quickly into our favorite chairs. I think we were both anxious to continue our excellent conversation of yesterday.

MA: We talked a long time last night didn't we?

Q: Yes MA it was a great afternoon. Thank you very much for sharing the lovely food and the hospitality of your house.

MA: You are quite welcome - it was fun for me. Do you remember where we were?

Q: That is the great advantage of taking good notes MA, we were about to discuss the Third Wave that you are so worried about.

MA: Indeed. It is probably obvious to you by now that I taught you all about the wonderful world of bugs and how they operate, so that we could have this conversation now.

Q: Yes I suppose so, all the lessons about Influenza and all the lessons of viral reproduction always kept coming back to the HIV virus. Why not just start with HIV?

MA: Several reasons, number one being that H1N1 is very much in the news as is H5N1 and they are the perfect examples to learn how all the bells and whistles work in the fast moving life of your RNA virus. Second, I am not sure you would have stuck to the subject had it not had the potential for a good article about the virus du jour.

Q: You are probably right. From what we have discussed these last few years, you are afraid that the HIV virus is going to become more virulent, aren't you?

MA: Very much so. It is different - highly mutagenic and very deadly. What do we mean when we say "Mortality Rate"?

Q: It means what percentage of the people it infects die.

MA: Correct. Now what is the mortality rate for those poor souls who become infected with the HIV virus?

Q: I am not sure. I know people are living longer with the disease and some don't seem to get sick at all. I thought at one time that it was 100% fatal, but I am not sure that is correct.

MA: It is not. A very very small percentage of people never get ill, many are living a long time with different drug cocktails and many die very rapidly. It is truly all over the board. Much of the answer lies in where you live, how you acquired the virus and what level of treatment you can afford. You will not see many hard numbers on this question any more, as you do other diseases, for just these reasons. But there is one question that you can answer fairly certainly, and that is "how many people who acquire the HIV virus get well?"

Q: There is no real cure is there?

MA: No, once infected it seems impossible to kill the virus. There are always claims that X or Y have a complicated system for rooting out and destroying all the virus in a body, but I do not believe this is true. We understand all too well how this horrible bug can hide in places that render it all but untreatable. The sad truth is that HIV+ is a condition that, as of this time, is treatable but permanent.
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