AIDS: HOPE WITH AN ASTERISK

FIFTEEN YEARS INTO THE AIDS EPIDEMIC, OPTIMISM IS A FOREIGN STATE. SHOULD WE LET THE NEW DRUGS TAKE US THERE?

People who have lived for a while with AIDS, or with any other life-threatening illness, will tell you what it does to their hearing. They put it in different ways, but what it comes down to is that the most ordinary conversation can cut like a knife. To begin with, the present tense has a whole new pitch. When you don't know how long you have, the simple words "I am" are enough to remind you of the unbearable lightness of being. With the past tense the problem is that you catch yourself saying, "I was..." and feel the tip of...

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