[Daily News] Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV. The patients’ immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn’t known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious. This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn’t spread the way AIDS does through a virus, said Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The disease develops around age 50 on average but does not run in families, which makes it unlikely that a single gene is responsible. Some patients have died of overwhelming infections, including some Asians now living in the U.S., although Browne could not estimate how many. The virus that causes AIDS – HIV – destroys T-cells, key soldiers of the immune system that fight germs. The new disease doesn’t affect those cells, but causes a different kind of damage. Browne’s study found that most of those with the disease make substances called autoantibodies that block interferon-gamma, a chemical signal that helps the body clear infections. Blocking that signal leaves people like those with AIDS vulnerable to viruses, fungal infections and parasites, but especially micobacteria, a group of germs similar to tuberculosis that can cause severe lung damage. “Fundamentally, we do not know what’s causing them to make these antibodies.”
I’m a proponent of “if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a motherfucking duck”. So if I’m a 50 year-old dude getting a checkup & the annual finger up the ass to be told, “Well, Mr. 10, the good news is you don’t have AIDS. Bad news is, your immune system is suffering from AIDS-like symptoms,” I’m choking the doctor out with his stethoscope. I don’t want to be AIDS-free because it’s called AIDS. I don’t want AIDS because its symptoms kill people. So don’t tell me I’m lucky to have BAIDS, FAIDS or whatever else you want to name it when my interferon-gamma is still blocked and I’m still gonna die from a cough or the sniffles. Cool, my T-cell count is solid & I can still go home, pop a Cialis and blow a wad in my wife without infecting her but who cares? If I’m gonna wither away like a gay junkie, then I have “AIDS AIDS AIDS!” whether you want to call it AIDS or not.