The Forgotten Virus – HIV

The Forgotten Virus - HIV

With so much concern about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, the forgotten virus is Human Immunodeficiency Virus, causing AIDS.

In 1981, the Center For Disease Control established the term “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome” or AIDS. The disease was initially found among gay men and had been transferred to humans from monkeys. AIDS spread rapidly and caused many deaths. In 1885, Dr. Mathilde Krim and the National AIDS Research Foundation merged to form amfAR to battle AIDS. In 1995 the FDA approved a protease inhibiter, a new class of drugs that reduced the AIDS fatalities. By 2006 mother to child HIV transmission in the United States had declined to less than 2%. All that is progress, but not a cure.

Doctors are still treating AIDS cases with medicines that are a means of control. The disease continues to be a worldwide pandemic. In 2019, 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV. Today, 38 million people are living with HIV. There were 770,000 deaths due to AIDS in 2019, and HIV rates are rising. Stem-cell transplant is making strides toward a cure, but research is slow and expensive. The organization amfAR has invested $550 million in programs aiming for a cure.

The story of AIDS is very similar to the story of COVID-19. Both were contracted initially as a result of human activity with animals. A virus may be inactive in an animal and very active in a human. Lifestyle is a major issue in both HIV and COVID-19. If humans would follow the instructions God has given us in His Word, neither of these viruses would be active in human populations. In both cases, a total cure is unlikely, especially for those of us with limited incomes.

The forgotten virus, HIV, doesn’t make headlines in the media, but it continues to be an issue for millions of people. That fact should send a message that applies to the world we live in today. We should learn from our previous mistakes and understand that. We should not have to go through one pandemic after another before realizing that God’s rules for relationships of all kinds have a purpose. We should recognize the truth of Jeremiah’s prayer: “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Data from amfAR letter of 10/20.

Beauty of Earth’s Diversity

Beauty of Earths DiversityThe plant in the picture is called the “bird of paradise.” It is neither a bird, nor is it found in paradise. However, it is indeed a beautiful example of the beauty of Earth’s diversity in the plant world. One of the primary reasons many of us enjoy travel and visiting museums, zoos, and arboretums is that we are enthralled with the incredible diversity of living things.

We want to suggest that this diversity is more than a device to entertain us humans. From a scientific standpoint, it is the diversity of life on Earth that has led to the high standard of living available to us on this planet. As geneticists unravel the genome of living things, it becomes more and more apparent why agricultural breeding practices of the past have been successful. The production of super chickens, super cows, low-fat pork, and all the other unique breeds has been possible because of all the different genetic options God built into life. If, for example, there had been only one set of genes for all bovines on this planet, such cattle as the Charolais would not have been possible. It is only because we have an infinite number of genetic possibilities to draw from that we can select those that will serve our particular needs.

In plants, this is equally obvious. We have only begun to appreciate all that plants can do. Scientists have studied only a small percentage of all plants on this planet to see how we can use them. Cures for cancer, AIDS, the common cold, and a variety of other ailments may well be in a plant we have not yet investigated. It is self-evident in today’s world that solving the problem of hunger lies in the fuller use of plants. The diversity of plants holds the key to better nutrition, more and better fabrics to protect and shelter us, and even the improvement of air quality.

In God’s creative wisdom, He gave us a wide diversity of life of all kinds and told us to “take care of the Garden, dress it, and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The future has vast potential for good if we will use in a constructive way all that God has given us. To arbitrarily destroy any of this diversity and thus end its potential usefulness is not only poor management of the “Garden,” but also the worst kind of foolishness.

We also suggest that the beauty of Earth’s diversity of humans offers the potential for vast good. Each of us has a gift designed into our makeup that uniquely qualifies us to bring great blessings to others. Paul said it best:

“According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; if service, use it in service, if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8). See also 1 Corinthians 12:8-27.
— John N. Clayton © 2019