BETHESDA, MD—HIV, the AIDS-causing single-stranded RNA retrovirus that was once universally feared, has become so much easier to control over the last couple of decades that it is no longer deemed worthy of having its own chapter in medical textbooks, editors say. Instead, the now non-intimidating HIV will be considered for “maybe a paragraph or two” in a broader “Viral Illnesses” chapter.
Despondent over its demotion, HIV hasn’t felt so irrelevant since the 1970s when no one even knew of its existence. It’s really not taking it well; sources say that since the demotion, HIV hasn’t even gotten out of bed. Too depressed to infect anyone, the virus spends its days watching MTV videos and 1980s movie marathons, waxing nostalgic for the decade when it reigned supreme.
One could certainly say the famous retrovirus has gone “retro”. “Oh how I miss the glorious eighties,” HIV whined, as a barber styled its surface glycoproteins into a big, frizzy perm. “I was unstoppable back then. I graced every magazine cover, starred in movies, captured the attention of every researcher and had enormous volumes written about me. I was untouchable—literally, no one would touch a person infected by me.”
In the decades since, however, its power to induce fear has diminished substantially thanks to very effective antiretroviral drugs that keep it suppressed. It’s gotten so bad that HIV-afflicted patients don’t even have to see HIV specialists anymore as any old ID doctor can easily handle it now. Even worse, HIV fears that the day will soon come when even general practitioners will be able to fully treat HIV. Oh the horror!
“Oh the virality!” shouted the HIV particle as it watched more of its comrades get blown up by powerful “nukes” (Nucleoside RTIs), a scene that was becoming all too familiar for the embattled virus. “I don’t stand a chance. My life near-life is ruined.”
But perhaps there is slight optimism for the depressed virus. Having analyzed Back to the Future obsessively, HIV was said to be plotting to infect Marty McFly and catch a ride on the DeLorean time machine back to the 1980s, so it could relive its glory days. However, experts say that while this is a viable plan, HIV probably missed its best chance as Marty and the DeLorean have not been seen since 2015.
With that plan doomed, HIV fell back into a deep depression. Feeling suicidal, HIV flipped open its medical textbook to the chapter page paragraph line about HIV and searched for ways to kill itself. But, alas, there was nothing even written about the treatment of HIV.
“Oh well,” sighed the downtrodden virus as it lay in bed watching The Goonies, “I guess I’ll just lie here dormant for a couple decades. Go ahead, and forget all about me…I dare you.”