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Preventing a Pandemic's Toll—We've Been Here Before

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article

No 2 epidemics are alike; those who practiced medicine in the early days of HIV/AIDS can attest to that. AIDS back then was an ultramarathon; COVID is more a series of exhausting sprints. Even so, history is repeating itself in an uncanny fashion as clinicians struggle once again to convince patients to save their own lives.

Widespread rejection of COVID vaccination has been ascribed to specific contemporary problems: the fraught political climate, an established "anti-vaxx" movement, these vaccines' novel mechanisms, and their unusually rapid path to market. In the late '90s, though, the first effective HIV treatments sometimes were met with a very similar reception.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Abigail Zuger, MD, New York, NY (abzug@panix.com).

Published Online: August 19, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.14402

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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