TB is back with a vengeance

If you were a teenager before 2005, one reminder of tuberculosis in British life is that small circular scar on your bicep. Maybe you’ve explained to your children why it’s there, if you ever knew. The BCG is no longer a routine vaccination in the UK, a revision which signalled to many that TB was over. What used to be known as consumption became treatable, preventable and ostensibly consigned to medical history as a threat of the past. We tell stories about diseases as if they are constant things. ‘It’s no worse than flu’ has become a familiar phrase; but flu is not all that common, it varies wildly in

What the fight against HIV can teach us about defeating Covid-19

In the eighties, we were warned to beware an easily spread, deadly virus. The government’s ominous HIV adverts told us not to ‘die of ignorance’. Thus a generation was educated through fear how to avoid infection by practicing safer sex and avoiding contact with the blood of those who are positive.  While those messages are still important today, HIV no longer represents the death sentence it once did. Still a life-altering and permanent disease, it can now be managed in a way that means people often live full lives with HIV, rather than die early because of it. No successful vaccination has been developed for HIV, but other medical developments