The man’s name was Michael. He was 33 years old, tall and good-looking, with short, peroxided hair and prominent cheekbones. He was a model, he confided; he’d had his face enhanced with cheekbone implants. He was also quite sick.
He had been ill since October with a fluctuating fever and swollen glands in his neck and under his collarbone. The glands had gone down, but the fever would not go away. He had lost a lot of weight, and now he was losing his hair. He had raw patches of fluffy white growths — candidiasis, a yeast-like fungus, as well as herpes virus — inside his mouth, between his buttocks, and on his index fingers. The medical ward had run some tests already: He had an organism called cytomegalovirus in his urine, his white blood cell count was low, and one particular class of white cell, the T-lymphocytes, were much fewer than they ought to be.
All the findings pointed to the same conclusion: His immune system was not working the way it should.