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On My Mind
June 2013

Playing the Odds

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.

JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(6):505-506. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapediatrics.17

The early devastation of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) plague coincided with my formative years as a young adult and as a new physician. Even now, these years retain a distinct brilliance among my memories, more salient than those before or since. In the subsequent decades, I have gradually transitioned into a sedate middle age, and the HIV plague has similarly settled into a more routine narrative of a serious but manageable, almost normal, disease, albeit one that continues to cause much heartache to this day. Yet I cannot forget the days when it was a mysterious terror with unknown powers, spreading inexorably like our worst nightmares of the archetypal bubonic plague itself.

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