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1985 AIDS ‘Victim’ Still Alive

1985 AIDS Victim Still AliveMichael Petrelis has learned that Lauren Burk, pictured along with her husband and infant child on a 1985 LIFE magazine feature informing us that “Now No One is Safe from AIDS,” is still very much alive.

From the 1985 story:

Patrick Burk fits the original profile of the AIDS patient because he is a hemophiliac who received the virus in a contaminated blood product. Unknowingly, he transmitted it to his wife, Lauren, who in turn passed it to their son in the womb or through her milk.


AIDS struck the Burk family all at once. Only after Dwight was diagnosed last August did his parents’ symptoms — the unexplained rashes, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes — make sense to doctors. In December Patrick was hospitalized for a month with a type of pneumonia that defines AIDS; Lauren has the condition called pre-AIDS. A registered nurse, she still drags herself to work at an institution for the retarded in Ebensburg, Pa., where Patrick also was employed.

The future is dark, yet Lauren stays cheerful and Patrick has a quiet confidence that he’ll beat the disease. “Apart we’d probably be two of the weakest people,” says Lauren. “But together we’re strong.”

Dwight and Patrick succumbed to the disease. Lauren, though, has managed to survive, her sister reports to Michael, thanks to tremendous medical advances since the article was written.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.