Villanova University. School of Law
AIDS forces us to confront our mortality, the limits of modern medicine and the contours of our compassion. How we respond is a measure of our society and a reflection of our values and priorities. As a fundamentally death-denying society, our response has been hampered by denial and shaped by faith that a technological fix will make the AIDS epidemic go away. Technology is our new religion, our "modern" way to deal with death. As novelist Don DeLillo has one of his characters put it to another who is worried about death: you can deny it, you can put your faith in religion or [y]ou [can] put your faith in technology. It got you here, it can get you out. This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other.... It's what we invented to conceal the terrible secret of our decaying bodies. But it's also life, isn't it? It prolongs life, it provides new organs for those that wear out. New devices, new techniques every day. Lasers, masers, ultrasound. Give yourself up to it.... They'll insert you in a gleaming tube, irradiate your body with the basic stuff of the universe. Light, energy, dreams. God's own goodness.
George J. Annas,
Faith (Healing), Hope and Charity at the FDA: The Politics of AIDS Drug Trials,
Villanova Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/1210