Fighting The 'Lazarus Syndrome'

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that deaths from AIDS dropped 47 percent last year. That gives many reason to hope. Not long ago, the only hope AIDS patients had was to warn others about the ways of the AIDS virus, so they could avoid the death sentences handed down by unprotected sex and shared drug needles.

Today, there are drugs to prevent the AIDS virus from swamping a patientÂ's immune system. While they donÂ't cure AIDS, they do lengthen lives. But thereÂ's an odd twist to this good news. Some patients are now frightened by the prospect of not dying.

Why? On the practical side, thereÂ's the high price tag on these new treatments, and the difficulties involved with returning to the workforce after long absences.

On the emotional side, people who once spent their days saying, "goodbye" to everything they loved must now trust their vitality enough to re-invest that affection. Not easy, since no one knows just how long the notoriously adaptable AIDS virus can be kept under control.

This range of anxieties is called the "Lazarus Syndrome" after the man Jesus raised from the dead. The goal in fighting "Lazarus Syndrome" is to teach people to live life with confidence, however long life might last.

Since none of us knows when the end is coming, thatÂ's a lesson we could all benefit from.

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