Aids 2 Essay Research Paper How Aids

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Aids 2 Essay, Research Paper How Aids Has Affected Our Society 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. Lorusso 2 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 completely prevent transmission, however, dramatic changes in sexual behavior and drug dependence would have to occur throughout the world. Prevention efforts that promote sexual awareness through open discussion and condom distribution in public schools have been opposed due to fear that these efforts encourage sexual

promiscuity among young adults. Similarly, needle-exchange programs have been criticized as promoting drug abuse. Governor Christine Todd Whitman vetoed a bill in New Jersey that tried to create a needle-exchange program. She was accused of being “compassionless”. She replied that she could not allow drug addicts to continue to break the law. By distributing needles, she felt that she was, in fact, encouraging them to break the law. Prevention programs that identify HIV-infected individuals and notify their sexual partners, as well as programs that promote HIV testing at the time of marriage or pregnancy, have been criticized for invading personal privacy. Efforts aimed at public awareness have been propelled by community-based organizations, such as Project Inform and

Act-Up, that provide current information to HIV-infected individuals and to individuals at risk for infection. Public figures and celebrities who are themselves Lorusso 3 HIV-infected or have died from AIDS-including American basketball player Magic Johnson, American actor Rock Hudson, American diver Greg Louganis, American tennis player Arthur Ashe, and British musician Freddie Mercury-have personalized the disease of AIDS and have thereby helped society come to terms with the enormity of the epidemic. In memory of those people who died from AIDS, especially in the early years of the epidemic, a giant quilt project was initiated in which each panel of the quilt was dedicated to the memory of an individual AIDS death. This quilt has traveled on display from community to community