AIDS and HIV


Introduction

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 Related complex).
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 were seropositive.

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. Transmission
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; female to male)
transmission was reported. In 1985, 1.7 percent