A Review of the facts
When the first case of HIV cases hit the United States in 1985 (Kellerman, 2006) the gay community had been hit hard by a disease it was just beginning to understand. Thousands of individuals had been infected with HIV, and many Americans believed the affliction to be wholly a “gay disease.” But as the years wore on it became apparent that anyone could be infected, and slowly this preconceived notion melted away as modern medicine perfected better ways to treat the virus and keep it from progressing into AIDS (Kates, 2004). With these new techniques, the death tolls slowly began to plummet and the stigma attached to the disease began to plummet. One of the primary reasons behind this has been the fact that certain age groups are passing the virus to unsuspecting sexual partners because they do not exhibit symptoms.
With the advent of a new drug called Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) in 1996, the incidence of HIV among young gay men has actually increased ( Rice, 2006). According to www.wikipedia.org, “HAART is a type of treatment which combines several antiretroviral drugs and helps keep HIV from mutating” (HAART, www.wikipedia.org). This treatment has revolutionized the treatment of HIV and given Americans a new lease on life. The treatment is widely attributed to longer life spans as well as fewer symptoms usually attributed to the disease. While this approach has prolonged millions of lives, its use has had a severely negative impact: The actual spread of HIV.
According to Rice, “The prevalence of unprotected sex in the post-HAART era has increased” (Unprotected Sex Before and After the Advent of HAART, ¶2). What this means to America at large is that even with the numerous treatment programs and rehabilitation clinics, many individuals believe that since they do not have the lesions or physical manifestations of the disease, it is in turn acceptable to have
References: Rice, Eric (2006, September). Unprotected Sex Among Youth Living with HIV Before and After Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. Perspectives on Sexual Reproductive Health, Vol. 38, Issue 3, p162-167, Retrieved October 8, 2006 from www.ebscohost.com