On my birthday this year, at the AIDS International Conference in Washington D.C., there was a press release saying that two more patients treated early with antiretrovirals, they had been cured. Cured. Of HIV/AIDS. Incredible.
Of course it wasn't phrased like that. What it said (and you can see for yourself here: http://www.aids2012.org/WebContent/File/AIDS2012_Media_Release_HIV_Cure_26_July_2012_EN.pdf ) was that two French adults who had been treated with the antiretrovirals until their viral load of HIV was in the "negative" range, and who then stopped taking the meds, their tested HIV cells remained in the "negative" range for six years so far. But it was released as you can see under the banner of the "HIV Cure" initiative, and it was for these folks as much of a cure as any cancer patient gets--that is, an indefinite remission. Without the sometimes--physically-brutal and always-mind-consuming duty of taking daily antiretrovirals.
Imagine if we said this about cancer: Get a blood test every six months, and if we find anything we can "cure" it. The line would be out the door. But HIV/AIDS isn't like cancer. It never has been.
I had my first child the year the Quilt was first displayed, and I remember thinking that I had brought her into a scarier world than the one I'd been born into. I had my second child the year that "Lisa" above died. Our third and fourth kids were born in 1990, and contrary to what I expected, all four have grown up in a world where they've been told to have "Safe Sex" but otherwise not to worry nearly as much as I supposed they would have to. There are treatments now. There are possible cures. We are an optimistic land. We think we've turned the bend.