2017 was a tough year for a lot of people, but through it all, a lot of positives came from it. Until the end of the month, I will be reflecting on personal, medical and community growth. Here are the top 10 things that I took away from 2017...
1. The Honorary Class of 1972
I went to my medical school reunion in May 2017. I was given the Alum of the Year Award at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Some members of the class of 2020 were seated at a table next to me and we chatted. I sent them copies of my book and we named them “Honorary Class of 1972” and have struck up a friendship.
My take: These young people represent the future of medicine. They will graduate in 2020, our target year to End the HIV Epidemic. This is the generation that will finally finish the job.
2. Huge Medical Advances
In November 2017, the FDA approved the first two drug combination in one pill that will replace the three-drug “cocktail” for many people. A huge advance in treatment.
My take: As long ago TV show host, Ed Sullivan, would say, this is “really big.” This advance shatters the old paradigm of three drugs are better than two are better than one. This is because of advances in drug development since we first started the three drug cocktail.
The drug is covered by health insurance (assuming that people will still have health insurance). It replaces a class of drugs that we have used for 30 years that are older and have long-term side effects.
Drugs like this give us a leg up as we move to End the HIV Epidemic. Today’s drugs are cleaner, safer, better tolerated and work faster than the older drugs.