Being one of the most fatal viruses in the nation, AIDS (Acquired
Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is now a serious public health concern in most major
U.S. cities and in countries worldwide. Since 1986 there have been impressive
advances in understanding of the AIDS virus, its mechanisms, and its routes of
transmission. Even though researchers have put in countless hours, and millions of
dollars it has not led to a drug that can cure infection with the virus or to a vaccine
that can prevent it. With AIDS being the leading cause of death among adults,
individuals are now taking more precautions with sexual intercourse, and medical
facilities are screening blood more thoroughly. Even though HIV ( Human
Immunodeficieny Virus) can be transmitted through sharing of non sterilize needles
and syringes, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and through most bodily fluids,
it is not transmitted through casual contact or by biting or blood sucking insects.
Development of the AIDS Epidemic
The first case of AIDS were reported in 1982, epidemiologists at the Center of
Disease Control immediately began tracking the disease back wards in time as well
as forward. They determined that the first cases of AIDS in the United States
probably occurred in 1977.
By early 1982, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and 2 foreign countries
had reports of AIDS cases, however the total remained low: 158 men and 1 woman.
Surprising enough more then 90 percent of the men were homosexual or bisexual.
Knowing this more then 70 percent of AIDS victims are homosexual or bisexual
men, and less then 5 percent are heterosexual adults. Amazing enough by
December of 1983 there were 3,000 cases of AIDS that had been reported in adults
from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and the disease had been
recognized in 20 other countries.
Recognizing the Extent of Infection
The health of the general homosexual populations in the area with the
largest number of cases of the new disease was getting looked at a lot closer by
researchers. For many years physicians knew that homosexual men who reported
large numbers of sexual partners had more episodes of venereal diseases and were
at higher risk of hepatitis B virus infection than the rest of the population, but
conicidentally with the appearance of AIDS,. other debilitating problems began to do
appear more frequently. The most common was swollen glands, often accompanied
by extreme fatigue, weight loss, fever, chronic diarrhea, decreased levels of blood
platelets and fungal infections in the mouth. This condition was labeled ARC (AIDS
The isolation of HIV in 1983 and 1984 and the development of techniques to
produce large quantities of the virus paved the way for a battery of tests to
determined the relationship between AIDS and ARC and the magnitude of the
carrier problem. Using several different laboratory tests, scientists looked for
antibodies against the HIV in the blood of AIDS and ARC patients. They found that
almost 100 percent of those with AIDS or ARC had the antibodies-they were
seriopostive. In contrast less then one percent of persons with no known risk factors
Definition of AIDS
AIDS is defined as a disease, at least moderately predictive of defects in cell-
meditated immunity, occurring in a person with no known cause for diminished
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 case definition of AIDS was
updated to reflect the role of the virus in causing AIDS, but the scope of the
definition remained almost the same.
HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, it is transmitted by both
homosexual and bisexual and heterosexual activity. The first recognized case was
among homosexual and bisexual men. Many numbers of studies have shown that
men who have sexual partners and those who practice receptive anal intercourse
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 the rectum.
Homosexual women tend to have a very low incidence of venereal disease in
general, an AIDS is no exception. Female-to-female transmission is highly
uncommon, however it has been reported in one case and suggested in another. In
the reported case, traumatic sex practices apparently resulted in transmission of 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;