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History of AIDS Essay

AIDS is a disease that destroys a person’s immune system. AIDS is a blood born pathogen. It was originally only found in gay men. This led to people calling it the “gay men disease. ” They use to think that this was punishment from God for their being gay. Then researchers found out some drug users were also getting the HIV virus, which leads to AIDS, from sharing needles. After that, it was referred to as the “gay man and druggy disease. ” All of the labels AIDS has been given are completely wrong; even heterosexual, sober people can get AIDS.

Considering the many ways of contracting HIV/AIDS it seems foolish to limit the causes to sex and drug use. Jonathan Mann wrote: We do not know how many people developed AIDS in the 1970s, or indeed in the years before. We do now know that the origin of AIDS and the virus HIV was probably in Africa. What we also know is: “The dominant feature of this first period was silence for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was unknown and transmission was not accompanied by signs or symptoms salient enough to be noticed.

While rare, sporadic case reports of AIDS and sero-archaeological studies have documented human infections with HIV prior to 1970, available data suggest that the current pandemic started in the mid- to late 1970s. By 1980, HIV has spread to at least five continents (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia). During this period of silence, spread was unchecked by awareness or any preventive action and approximately 100,000-300,000 persons may have been infected. (qtd in “History”) The first awareness of AIDS was in June of 1981, when they found traces of PCP in five men in Los Angeles, California.

This event occured when they believed only gay men could get the disease, so they were not worried about it spreading to heterosexual people. This was all also before the method of transmission was known; they thought a person could catch it if he or she were standing to close to someone who had the disease. In December of 1981 the first cases of AIDS were reported in intravenous drug users. In 1982 AIDS was still nameless. People started calling it numerous names, such as “Gay Compromise Syndrome,” “GRID (gay-related immune deficiency),” “AID (acquired immunodeficiency disease),” “gay cancer” and “community-acquired immune dysfunction. (“History”) Later that year, reports emerged of children and transfusion recipients getting AIDS. Everyone knew this was no longer a gay related disease.

Persons who may be considered at increased risk of AIDS include those with symptoms and signs suggestive of AIDS; sexual partners of AIDS patients; sexually active homosexual or bisexual men with multiple partners; Haitian entrants to the United States; present or past abusers of IV drugs; patients with hemophilia; and sexual partners of individuals at increased risk for AIDS. qtd in “History”) This was the message that CDC (Center for Disease Control) sent out when researchers discovered that AIDS was spread through body fluids. It was not until March 1983 that researchers discovered this. Between 1987 and 1992 there were many prevention groups created. ACT-UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) was founded to attempt to end the AIDS crisis. “On April 2, 1989, Hans Verhoef, a Dutch man with AIDS, was jailed in Minnesota under the federal law banning travelers with HIV from entering the USA. ”(“History”)

In July of 1990, Kimberly Bergalis was infected with HIV by her dentist, David Acer. The CDC would not believe Kimberly, they didn’t think this type of infection was possible. Her father kept telling the CDC that Kimberly would not back down, thus by the end of it all the CDC supported her conclusion. Early in 1991, the CDC confirmed that the same dentist infected two other patients. In the fall of 1991 Kimberly requested mandatory HIV testing for all health care workers, so that “others don’t have to go through the hell that I have. (“History”) A few years after the CDC chose not to do the mandatory testing, Kimberly Bergalis died. In 1991 Earvin (Magic) Johnson announced that he was HIV positive; he then retired from professional sports.

He wanted to use his celebrity status to educate kids about the disease. He also said, “I think sometimes we think, well, only gay people can get it – it is not going to happen to me. And here I am saying that it can happen to anyone, even me Magic Johnson. ” (“History”) In 1992 the FDA(Federal Drug Administration) approved the use of two drugs combined, it was the first combination of drugs that was successful.

This new drug is not a cure, but it constitutes an important addition to the expanding group of antiviral drugs currently available, including AZT and DDI, for treating people with AIDS. ” stated James Mason. (“History”) On December 1, 1993, World AIDS Day, Benetton and ACT UP Paris put a giant condom (22m x 3. 5m) in the time square equivalent in Paris to raise awareness of the disease. (“History”) One of the television ads, entitle Automatic, features a condom making its way from the top drawer of a dresser across the room and into bed with a couple about to make love.

The voice-over says, ‘It would be nice if latex condoms were automatics. But since they’re not using them should be. Simply because a latex condom, used consistently and correctly will prevent the spread of HIV. ’ (qtd in “History”) This was a commercial that attempted to make men wear condoms to keep the HIV virus from spreading. If a man wears a condom it will reduce the chance of the woman contracting the virus. In 1994 scientists found a medication that reduced the spread of HIV from mother to infant by two thirds.

This was the first sign that mothers can decrease the spread of HIV to their children, and maybe stop it all together. In 1996, a heavyweight boxer was tested positive for HIV before a fight. This was his reaction: “I thought AIDS was something that happened to gays and drug addicts. A macho guy like me who loves ladies and super fit – he doesn’t get AIDS! ” stated Tommy Morrison. (“History”) In his State of the Union address on 28th January, US president George Bush proposed spending $15 billion in combating AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean over the next 5 years.

He called the scheme ‘a great mission of rescue’. “This comprehensive plan will prevent 7 million new ‘AIDS’ infections, treat at least 2 million people with life-extending drugs, and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS, and for children orphaned by AIDS. ”-President Bush Just two days later, US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson was elected as the new chairman of the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria. It was hoped this move would prevent a conflict between the Bush administration and the international health community. (qtd in “History”)

Symptoms of AIDS include; heart infections, intestine infections, and other infections that are uncommon. When a person has AIDS he or she gets very uncommon infections that a healthy immune system could fight off. Since his or her immune system slowly gets destroyed he or she can’t fight off infections and viruses that most people can. The most common cause of AIDS is sexual transmission. This can be between two men, two women, or heterosexual intercourse. The second highest cause is being exposed to blood borne pathogens. This can happen from blood donations, or just having open wounds.

This however cannot happen from close contact, like some people believe. The least likely way to contract the virus is from mother to child, because we now have drugs that make it so less than one percent of children will get it from their mother. AIDS is a disease that will completely destroy your immune system. It attaches to your white blood cells and keeps them from doing their job. White blood cells would normally fight off any infection that get into your body, but when the HIV virus changes to AIDS it will block the receptors from the message your brain sends saying to attack this bacteria.

This means AIDS does not kill you, rather the illness AIDS won’t let your body fight kill you. There are many ways to prevent AIDS, the most effective way is abstinence. If you are not sexually active, you cannot get an STI. However, if you feel you have to have sex use a condom. Not only does it prevent unwanted birth, but it will also reduce the transmission of STIs. (“CDC”) The importance of condoms in the fight against STDs is readily apparent, whether one focuses on the past, the present or the future. But condoms clearly have not been used as widely as they must be to significantly slow the spread of infection.

One solution is the greater promotion of condoms through advertising, education and public-awareness campaigns. We believe another necessary step is to improve condoms – making them more user-friendly, sexy and pleasurable. (qtd in Pinkerton) Another way to prevent the spread of AIDS is to avoid infected blood. So if you are a doctor working on an HIV positive patient, wear rubber gloves. Also, if you are HIV positive, don’t have sexual relations with multiple people, and tell them if you are going to sleep with them. The least you can do is let them know they are risking their lives. William B.

Kaliher has investigated cases of venereal disease for more than twenty-five years. In the following viewpoint, Kaliher asserts that while it is mandatory for health departments to find and notify the sexual partners of patients with venereal disease, partner notification in HIV cases is not mandatory. He argues that partner notification is especially important in HIV/AIDS cases, however, as AIDS is always fatal. Without mandatory notification, he contends that those who have HIV can continue to infect other people. If people with HIV/AIDS are notified that they may be infected, they can get tested. qtd in Kaliher) In this society, two things are very clear.

The government is not making decisions in the best interest of the public health. The government is also not utilizing every tax payer’s dollar; they are not doing as much to prevent the spreading of AIDS as they can do. Also another way of preventing the spread of AIDS would be to educate the people most likely to spread the disease. The health official could do this by going into the areas where drug users live, and tell them that if they share needles they are at risk of dying earlier than normal people are.

They could also talk to the prostitutes in Las Vegas, the women who are with ten, fifteen, or twenty men a night. They could tell them not only are they at higher risk for spreading the disease, but they could also spread it to hundreds of other men. (Kaliher) There is no vaccine against HIV, and no cure for AIDS. The key to decreasing the spread and reducing the impact of this disease is to promote healthy behaviors that prevent infection or minimize the adverse effects of treatment.

Health promotion, disease prevention, and symptom management are key components of the research conducted by the biobehavioral scientists supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). The Institute funds both domestic and international HIV/AIDS research programs. (qtd in NINR) There are also many myths about AIDS. First of all AIDS is not just the gay men disease. Anyone can contract AIDS, and not a lot of people try to prevent spreading it. Like the saying “gay as AIDS” that statement is very inaccurate. AIDS is present in many heterosexual peoples’ lives.

Also AIDS is not only in drug addicts who share needles. Someone cannot call AIDS the druggy disease or the gay men disease just because they were some of the first people to have it. The solution to the myths about AIDS is to increase awareness on all of the aspects of AIDS. People need to know that people can get AIDS from more than just sharing needles and having gay sex. People can catch AIDS from their mother when they are born or being breast fed, people can catch it from having heterosexual sex, and people can also catch it when they receive a blood donation from an infected donor.

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