Today more Americans are infected with STD's than at any other time in history. The most serious of these diseases is AIDS. Since the first cases were identified in the United States in 1981, AIDS has touched the lives of millions of American families. This deadly disease is unlike any other in modern history.
Changes in social behavior can be directly linked to AIDS. Its overall effect on society has been dramatic. It is unknown whether AIDS and HIV existed and killed in the U.S. and
North America before the early 1970s. However in the early 1980s, "deaths by opportunistic infections, previously observed mainly in tissue-transplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy", were recognized in otherwise healthy homosexual men. In 1983 French oncologist Luc Montagnier and scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris isolated what appeared to be a new human retrovirus from the lymph node of a man at risk for having AIDS. At the same time, scientists working in the laboratory of American research, scientist
Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute, one of the National Institutes of
Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and a group headed by American virologist Jay Levy at the University of California at San Francisco isolated a retrovirus from people with AIDS and from individuals having contact with people with AIDS. All three groups of scientists had isolated what is now known as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In 1995 HIV was estimated to infect almost 20 million people worldwide, and several million of those people had developed AIDS. The disease is obviously an important social issue. AIDS has caused many to rethink their own social behavior. People are forced to use caution when involving themselves in sexual activity. They must use contraception to avoid the dangers of infection. Many people consider HIV infection and AIDS to be completely preventable because the routes of HIV transmission are so well known. To
Bibliography: Martelli, Leonard J. and others. When Someone You Know Has AIDS. Crown, 1987. Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On. St. Martin 's, 1987. " "Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic". Weitz, Rose. Life with AIDS. Rutgers, 1991.