AIDS in the 1980's

AIDS EPIDEMIC of the 1980's and ITS RAMIFICATIONS

This paper presents an open exploration of AIDS in the United States during the 1980's. The author examines the definition of AIDS, the stigma that it carried as a "gay disease," and incorporates information about the Ryan White Care Act. The author explores the statistics of AIDS in the United States. There were five sources used to complete this paper.

In current discussion of AIDS an old tobacco ad comes to mind. In the ad women are smoking in public and the cigarette company slogan is "You've come a long way baby." This is how AIDS can be viewed in the United States today. While it is still a deadly disease and is spreading rapidly through the young adult population, society has come a long way in its understanding of AIDS. In addition the nation is more tolerant of the disease than it has been in the past. A disease that was once called a "gay thing" is now accepted and recognized as a disease that knows no barriers. It impacts the young the old, the rich the poor, the gay and the straight. It has gone from being considered a gay disease to being just a disease. Society used to shun those who had it. Today while there is still a stigma with it those who have it do not get stigmatized in the same manner as they did in the 80's. This is due to public education and people such as Ryan White who paved the way for compassion and understanding when it comes to AIDS.

Before one can begin to understand all of the implications having AIDS one must first understand the definition of it. The AIDS epidemic of the 1980's in the United States prompted an onslaught of public education attempts aimed at removing the stigma of having the disorder while being careful not to minimize its dangers.

In short, AIDS stands for "AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. When HIV infection becomes advanced it often is referred to as AIDS. It generally occurs when the CD4 count is below 200/mL and is characterized by the appearance of opportunistic infections. These are infections that take advantage of a weakened immune system and include (AIDS (http://health.discovery.com/centers/hivnaids/defn.html):"

Tuberculosis

Pneumonia

Certain cancers

When one has HIV one has the infection in the blood stream. It is usually not considered AIDS until one of two things happen. The person with HIV's T-cell count drops to below 200 or they have had two opportunistic infections in a six-month period (AIDS (http://health.discovery.com/centers/hivnaids/defn.html).

The AIDS epidemic if the 1980's in the United States takes a chronological path that begins with the pointing of fingers. Americans believed that it was a gay disease and that only homosexuals or those who had sexual relations with homosexuals were at risk. This blinders attitude of American society may have played a part in the epidemic that took hold in the 1980's and refused to let go for more than a decade. People believed if they were not gay they were not at risk, therefore did not need to use precautions (SO LITTLE TIME (http://www.aegis.com/topics/timeline/default.asp).

In 1980 there were 31 reported deaths in the United States due to AIDS. By 1981 the CDC reported that five gay men had developed an AIDS specific cancer called Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia at 3 different hospitals in Los Angeles, California (SO LITTLE TIME (http://www.aegis.com/topics/timeline/default.asp).

In 1981 the number of AIDS related deaths jumped to 234.

AIDS was discovered to be transmitted through blood in 1982. Whether that was through sexual contact, blood transfusions, sharing straws while having cuts in the mouth and other methods were debated hotly in all walks of life.

By 1983 there were 2304 deaths related to AIDS in the U.S. And theā€¦