Medicine's progress staggering

Whether it's preventing an illness or getting rid of one, there seems to be a medicine for everything.

As pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced Monday, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the company's new oral HIV medication - the first in more than 10 years - and I couldn't help but think about how far we've come in the world of medicine.

From aspirin to Tylenol, cervical cancer vaccines to chicken-pox shots, it seems there's a way to prevent, or at least temporarily quell, most any disease or ailment.

As a child, I didn't have to worry about polio, thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk. I could get a shot of penicillin for a pesky bacterial infection, thanks to Alexander Fleming, and a meningitis shot kept me healthy in close living quarters during my college years.

There are precautionary vaccines for those traveling out of the country, shots to keep children healthy while in school and hundreds of over-the-counter medications to help remedy any problem from allergies to an upset stomach.

While I'm thankful for this array of preventative and treatment drugs, I know I take these miracle drugs for granted.

Aren't we lucky that all it takes is a trip to the doctor, a prescription and a drive to a local pharmacy to cure an infection that, years ago, could have caused serious illness or even death?

It amazes me what great lengths medicines have come and the capacity to which researchers and scientists have stretched their minds in the name of medicine.

According to verbiage about the new HIV drug, Selzentry, the medication can block the virus before it enters the body's cells, rather than fighting the disease after the fact like other medicines.

While I hope I don't ever need drugs like Selzentry, it's comforting to know these medications are available. It's also nice to know the means for new and improved drugs are coming to light every day.

While cures for debilitating diseases such as cancer are not yet available, I believe it's a possibility for the future.

While my mother had the peace of mind of knowing I never had to worry about diseases such as polio, measles or mumps, I hope the same holds true for breast and prostate cancer when I have children.

While I know I dreaded the needles and the pokes from doctors and nurses as a child, I'm happy to say I can look back now with a clean bill of health.

So doctors, researchers, scientists and nurses, thank you for all you do. Keep up the good work - for the future of my health and yours.

Melissa Wilson writes about health for the Daily Post. E-mail her at melissa.wilson@