AIDS is the acronym used for Acquired Immune
Deficiency Syndrome. It is a disease transmitted through
the blood. It is transmitted from person to person
through sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, I.V. drug
users, and from mothers to babies during birth.
AIDS is a disease which breaks down the human immune
system causing the body to become very susceptible to
infection. The disease is brought about by the HIV-1
virus. HIV-1( Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can remain
dormant for years and then begins to attack the bodies T-
cells and white cells which help fight off infection.
Full-blown AIDS occurs when a person is in the last
stages of his or her battle for life. It is a fatal
disease not because of the disease itself but because of
the fact that other infections attack the body and it has
no way to recover from it. Full-blown AIDS is the stage
of a person's life when their immune system has been
completely destroyed. A person does not usually have any
symptoms of the disease. That is that there are no real
indications that a person is infected. There is no
certain look to a person who is HIV-1 positive. They
could be the person who lives next door or a complete
stranger that is seen passing by one the street. The
patient may feel tired, nauseous, feverish, and have a
loss of appetite or weight. These are also indications
of many other diseases. This is why most people only
find out that they are positive after a random blood
test. Blood tests are given to patients and the virus
can be detected in the bloodstream. False positives and
negatives can also occur. For this reason it is
recommended that a person be tested more that once over a
period of about a year.
As of today there is no cure for AIDS and HIV-1
because of a few reasons. One is that it is such a new
disease. The United States is in the middle of a
widespread epidemic of a killer virus that was only
discovered about sixteen years ago. During the summer of
1981, the United States recognized their first case of
AIDS. After later research though, it was found to have
been around in 1975. At first, AIDS was thought to be a
homosexual disease. The gay community in New York City
has been hit the hardest with about 1/2 million cases to
date. Scientists believe that the virus was carried by
male homosexuals during the sexual revolution of the mid-
1970s. Promiscuity was common among all people. It is
thought to have been brought from New York City on the
East coast to San Francisco on the West coast. San
Francisco is another common area in the country for gay
people to live. It also has the second highest rate of
AIDS per capita in the country. When AIDS was first seen
in this country, a widespread homophobia broke out.
People felt that the gay community was going to be
responsible for the outbreak of this horrible and
uncontrollable disease. A disease which could cause the
destruction of the entire society.
Male Homosexuals are the principal victims of AIDS
but that is rapidly changing. The virus must somehow
been contracted by heterosexuals from blood transfusions
or needle sharing. The numbers of infected heterosexuals
in the United States is growing. The fastest growing
group is in women and young adults ages 18-25. These
ideas seemed outrageous a few years ago but today are not
so far-fetched. As of 1990, women made up about ten
percent of infected Americans but the numbers keep on
growing. About one-fifth of all reported cases are young
adults in their twenties. An average of two college
students per every one thousand tested had contracted the
virus. The number of teenagers who contracted the virus
rose over forty percent between the years 1988-1990.
After the spreading of the virus from homosexuals to
heterosexuals, people became panicked. The only way that
HIV-1 can be spread is through bodily fluid like blood.
The transmission can only take place during sex, a
transfer of blood, or from the birth of a child of an
infected woman. People were not educated about the
disease because it was so new. A fear came over the non-
infected people. Those who were infected became
alienated from the rest of the society. People began to
think up new and bizarre ways that the disease could be
contracted. Though the government has tried to educate
people about the disease, some people are still not clear
on the facts or they just refuse to acknowledge the
AIDS is an epidemic that can not be cured