It was with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes that I read the headline "With Merciful Speed--Battle With AIDS Ends for Mullican" (Part I, Dec. 29). I knew immediately that this would be the last in the series of articles chronicling Jeffrey Mullican's battle with AIDS. At least for Mullican, death was relatively swift and not the characteristically long process of both physical and mental destruction many people with AIDS suffer.
I applaud The Times for bringing the human element of this horrible disease to the front page and I am grateful to the author, Marlene Cimons, for her sensitivity and style. I did not know Jeff Mullican, but my heart went out to him and to his family. While the physical suffering caused by AIDS is almost unimaginable there is eventually death to release the victim. Unfortunately, the immeasurable emotional suffering caused by AIDS does not stop with death of the afflicted but continues to affect all those touched by the disease.
I hope that the early years of dismissing AIDS as a "gay" disease not worthy of "alarming" anyone about it do not lead to the apocalyptic predictions of hundreds of thousands of victims in the future. Of note was that in Mullican's 20 months since his AIDS diagnosis, only one experimental drug--AZT--was licensed by the FDA for use. This lack of swift approval for experimental drugs for a disease proven to be almost 100% fatal is an embarrassment to the United States. Mullican fought a brave battle with AIDS. Let us hope that the vast medical bureaucracy in the United States can act with compassion and speed and find effective treatments and an eventual cure for those who have and those who will inevitably contract AIDS.
TODD E. BIANCO