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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AIDS Patient Fights Disease with Fervor

July 12, 1995
Washington Times (07/10/95) P. A5

AIDS activist Jeff Getty hopes to become the first human to be injected with a baboon's bone marrow. He believes he is still alive because of an aggressive style of negotiating he learned at the Mexican border seven years ago when U.S. border guards caught him coming from Tijuana with a pinata filled with illegal AIDS drugs. At the time, U.S. residents were allowed to import drugs that lacked federal approval if they were for personal use. The guards were aware of the uses of isoprinosine and ribavirin, but insisted Getty explain himself anyway. "Because I have AIDS," he shouted. Since then, Getty has successfully fought the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and drug companies for the opportunity to use experimental AIDS drugs, which doctors say have kept him alive for 15 years. Now, however, his immune system is so ravaged that they estimate he has only one year more to live, and Dr. Suzanne Ildstad of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center believes the bone marrow transplant is his last chance. A successful transplant could boost Getty's immune system, as well as indicate progress toward cross-species transplants for a variety of diseases.