Being one of the most fatal viruses in the nation, AIDS (AcquiredImmunodeficiency Syndrome) is now a serious public health concern in most major U. S cities and in countries worldwide. Since 1986 there have been impressiveadvances in understanding of the AIDS virus, its mechanisms, and its routes oftransmission. Even though researchers have put in countless hours, and millionsof dollars it has not led to a drug that can cure infection with the virus or toa vaccine that can prevent it. With AIDS being the leading cause of death amongadults, individuals are now taking more precautions with sexual intercourse, andmedical facilities are screening blood more thoroughly.
Even though HIV ( HumanImmunodeficieny Virus) can be transmitted through sharing of non sterilizeneedles and syringes, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and through mostbodily fluids, it is not transmitted through casual contact or by biting orblood sucking insects. Development of the AIDS EpidemicThe first case of AIDS were reported in 1982, epidemiologists at theCenter of Disease Control immediately began tracking the disease back wards intime as well as forward. They determined that the first cases of AIDS in theUnited States probably occurred in 1977. By early 1982, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and 2 foreigncountries had reports of AIDS cases, however the total remained low: 158 men and1 woman.
Surprising enough more then 90 percent of the men were homosexual orbisexual. Knowing this more then 70 percent of AIDS victims are homosexual orbisexual men, and less then 5 percent are heterosexual adults. Amazing enoughby December of 1983 there were 3,000 cases of AIDS that had been reported inadults from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and thedisease had been recognized in 20 other countries. Recognizing the Extent ofInfectionThe health of the general homosexual populations in the area with thelargest number of cases of the new disease was getting looked at a lot closer byresearchers.
For many years physicians knew that homosexual men who reportedlarge numbers of sexual partners had more episodes of venereal diseases and wereat higher risk of hepatitis B virus infection than the rest of the population,but conicidentally with the appearance of AIDS,. other debilitating problemsbegan to do appear more frequently. The most common was swollen glands, oftenaccompanied by extreme fatigue, weight loss, fever, chronic diarrhea, decreasedlevels of blood platelets and fungal infections in the mouth. This conditionwas labeled ARC (AIDS Related complex). The isolation of HIV in 1983 and 1984 and the development of techniquesto produce large quantities of the virus paved the way for a battery of teststo determined the relationship between AIDS and ARC and the magnitude of thecarrier problem.
Using several different laboratory tests, scientists lookedfor antibodies against the HIV in the blood of AIDS and ARC patients. Theyfound that almost 100 percent of those with AIDS or ARC had the antibodies-theywere seriopostive. In contrast less then one percent of persons with no knownrisk factors were seropositive. Definition of AIDSAIDS is defined as a disease, at least moderately predictive of defectsin cell-meditated immunity, occurring in a person with no known cause fordiminished resistance to that disease. Such diseases include Kaposi’s Sarcoma,Pneumocystis carnii pneumonia, and serious other opportunistic infections. After the discovery of HIV and the development of HIV-antibody test, the casedefinition of AIDS was updated to reflect the role of the virus in causing AIDS,but the scope of the definition remained almost the same.
TransmissionHIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, it is transmitted byboth homosexual and bisexual and heterosexual activity. The first recognizedcase was among homosexual and bisexual men. Many numbers of studies have shownthat men who have sexual partners and those who practice receptive analintercourse are more likely to be infected with HIV than other homosexual men. Researchers found a strong connection between HIV infection and rectal trauma,enemas before sex, and physical signs of disruption of the tissue lining therectum.
Homosexual women tend to have a very low incidence of venereal diseasein general, an AIDS is no exception. Female-to-female transmission is highlyuncommon, however it has been reported in one case and suggested in another. Inthe reported case, traumatic sex practices apparently resulted in transmissionof HIV from a woman who had acquired the virus through IV drug abuse to her non-drug-using sexual partner.1983 was when the first heterosexual (Male to female; .