Risky Twist to AIDS Research

  • Share
  • Read Later
CHICAGO: Time was when AIDS campaigners warned, “Don't die of ignorance. Be aware of HIV, or it may cost you your life.” But for 50 volunteers at the Chicago-based International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, the fight against ignorance now means deliberately contracting HIV — or at least, injecting a weakened strain of the virus. The activists-turned-guinea-pigs petitioned the National Institutes of Health Monday to allow them to be the first humans to receive live HIV vaccinations. TIME health reporter Christine Gorman says there is proof "that this vaccine could trigger a stronger immune response than other kinds of inoculations." On the other hand, Gorman warns the shots are not magic bullets: "There are cases where the virus has reconstituted itself and produced an HIV infection. Some strains might even give recipients cancer at a later date." The rewards are great, but so are the risks — and it will require bravery and dedication from those who stick the needle in.