AP pronounces AIDS cure

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You can split hairs all you want about what the Associated Press actually reported about an American living in Germany who was treated with a bone marrow transplant for his leukemia, a treatment now being reported to have had an impact on his HIV/AIDS status.

But these words were used:

“Doctors say marrow transplant may have cured AIDS.”

“…appears to have been cured of the disease….”

“…he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus…”

Despite some caveats in the story, one can question why the AP reported this story at all.

Perhaps no one remembers as vividly as I do how CNN reported on a hyperthermia “cure” for AIDS back in 1990. I remember because, as head of the CNN medical news unit at the time, key people at the network went behind my back, then spurned my advice, and reported this “cure.” It didn’t take much and it didn’t take long for the facts to show how foolish and how inappropriate that reporting was. That incident was the leading factor in why I resigned from the network within a few months.

Does journalism ever learn about “cures”?

About verification?

About replication of results?

About the impact such stories have on sick people?

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