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...
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“History of AIDS up to 1986” Avert.org. Ed. Kanabus, Annabel and Fredriksson, Jenni. Web. 18 Feb. 2010.
"NINR FOCUS: Biobehavioral Science and HIV/AIDS." National Instute of Nursing Research. Minnesota West Comm. & Tech. College, Jan. 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2010.
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Park, Alice. “The Man Who Could Beat AIDS.” Time. Jan 12, 2010. 44-46. Print.
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