These wee green kittens not only glow, they’re resistant to the feline version of HIV.
Scientists exploring possible treatments for HIV have, purely as a byproduct of their methods, earned themselves a spot in today’s science blog postings: They’ve made glowing kittens.
Something nasty is in the air in China, and it isn’t the infamous smog. Sweeping the country is a new paranoia, in which men become convinced that they’ve contracted HIV, often blaming their infection on a visit to a prostitute. Hundreds of Chinese men have reportedly been visiting doctors and have refused to believe the evidence of negative HIV tests. So strong is their fear that some men wear masks or refuse to interact with their families for fear of transmitting the disease.
Although the men say they feel sick, doctors don’t believe they’re dealing with a hitherto unknown virus, explains the BBC:
They suspect extreme guilt or anxiety about an act the men are ashamed of — sex with a prostitute — is affecting their immune systems, making them feel ill.
Chinese hospital authorities like Cai Weiping, who works in the southern province of Guangdong, are mildly annoyed at the steady trickle of patients who are paranoid that they are HIV positive.
In the U.S., the kids are snorting Ritalin to get high. But in South Africa, the newest abused prescription drugs of choice are HIV drugs. Teenage schoolchildren in South Africa have been seen grinding up anti-retroviral pills and smoking them, sometimes mixed with painkillers or marijuana. The children say they are buying or stealing the drugs from HIV patients and healthcare workers.
Tooli Nhlapo, a documentary filmmaker for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, was shocked when she first observed the children smoking the pills. Meant to boost the immune system and help the body fight off HIV, the drugs apparently produce a hallucinogenic effect when smoked.
“When I asked them why they like doing it, they said it helps them relax and forget about their problems,” she said. What Nhlapo first thought was an isolated incident may turn out to be a nationwide problem: Many people in the areas she visited were aware of the new way to get high.