Michelle Lee Pelletier & Sarah Smith
December, 16, 1998
Mr. Marquis
Honors Chemistry


A.I.D.S is an epidemic of the nineties. There are over one million people infected with the HIV in the United States, and over 250,000 cases of Aids. The World Health Organization estimates that there are between five and ten million infected with the H.I.V virus. This number is rising steadily. A.I.D.S is the end result of H.I.V, and to this day there is no cure. H.I.V was discovered in 1981, but not until 1984 was it proven to be the cause of A.I.D.S. Since then the definition of A.I.D.S. has changed many times, and will no doubt keep changing. And as people learn more about it, they seek out a cure. Scientist have been working hard on a cure for more than a decade. They have come up with many pill "cocktails" or other forms of medications, but so far the cure is still far away. People with A.I.D.S/HIV are running out of time, yet it seems that there is sadly till a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding of the disease, and without understanding a cure is pushed farther away. Stealing a chance of survival from another person. The myths and truths need to be sorted out, a cure must be found, and the disease itself must be contained.
The HIV virus was discovered in 1981. Compared to many other diseases that have had a relatively huge impact on mankind, it is relatively new. Cancers and so forth have been here since man. HIV was not connected to Aids, or proven to be the cause until 1984. Since The discovery it has gone through many changes, and many names. HIV was formally known as Lymphadenopathy-associated virus (lAV), Human T-Cell lymotropic virus type III (HTLV III). It is relatively new, which means that both AIDS and HIV are subjected to much change through the new few decades, we may know a significant amount about it at this time, but new information is learned everyday. The information behind the cause of Aids is inconclusive. Though it has been said the first case from a monkey in Africa, this may not be the story, but man did get the virus from monkeys. How they got it from the monkey is another thing. Perhaps the "monkey" (which is immune to the virus, which is believed to be because the monkey doesn\'t have co-receptors on it\'s white blood cells) had bleeding gums or had a higher content of HIV in its blood system. Making its\' bite to man more dangerous. It obviously had some sort of bodily fluid transmission (syringes, etc) and the virus jumped into man, and had a field day in a whole new host. The one question I had, but could not find an answer for, was if the monkey had the virus, why hadn\'t it become know to man? I have a theory for this. I believe (though I have no evidence to back up my theory, thus making it a theory) that Monkeys may have had the virus for a very long time, but man was immune to it, not the monkey. Monkeys (a certain species of the monkey) over time grew immune to the disease as most animals do over time. The monkey\'s body may have changed the formation of the t-cells. So the virus mutated, and survived in the monkey without affecting the monkey. Than when man ran across it, it had at this point turned into a whole new "virus". More powerful than the one that had plagued the monkeys. Since it had overcome its host becoming immune to it before, it muted into a very powerful thing. Which is when choosing a cure, it is extremely important, to me at least that we eradicated the virus by finding a vaccine, not find a cure for people who have it. Because what will happen is the virus will mutate into a stronger virus, like what "may" of happened in the monkeys. Already the AIDS virus has conquered many medications, by growing immune to it. This makes it harder and harder to find a way to put an end to it. TO find a cure for it, people must be aware of it\'s past.

Before there can be