Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). "The virus was discovered in France in 1983 and in the United States in 1984. In the United States, it was initially identified in 1981. In 1986, a second virus, now called HIV-2, was also discovered in Africa.(Bookshelves)" Female prostitutes in Africa probably spread it very quickly. AIDS became a huge crisis of major proportions in parts of Africa. It has become the worst plague this species has ever known. AIDS is transmitted in one of three ways: From intimate sexual without protection, from the mi of a person s blood with infected blood, and from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection can occur from blood transfusions of infected blood, or sharing unclean needles. (Needles already used, in this case, by an
HIV positive person and not sterilized.) The HIV-2 virus also causes AIDS.
AIDS was first seen as a disease limited gay males in the United States. "This was a result that gay males in this culture before AIDS had an average of 200 to 400 new sexual s per year. This figure was much greater than the new sexual encounters among heterosexual (straight) men or
women. (Strack,5)" In addition, it turned out that rectal sex was a particularly effective way to transmit the disease. Rectal sex is a common practice among gay males. For these reasons, the disease spread in the gay male population of the United States more quickly than in other populations. It became to be thought of as a "gay disease". As the AIDS epidemic began to affect increasingly large fractions of those two populations (gay males and IV drug abusers), many of the rest of the American society looked on smugly, for both populations tended to be despised
by the "mainstream" of society here. It is extremely important for scientists to find a cure for AIDS.
It is important because mostly everyone in the world has sex. The
safest option regarding AIDS and sex is total abstinence from all sexual . For those who
prefer to indulge in sexual , this is often far too great a sacrifice.
The development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection is among the highest
priorities for the AIDS research effort. Yet, vaccine research historically has received less
funding and attention than other areas of AIDS research. Although this may have been justifiable in
the past, the continued spread of the HIV epidemic and recent advances in our knowledge dictate a
reassessment of priorities and a restructuring of the vaccine initiative. In many developing nations, vaccines may be the only cost-effective way to prevent transmission and control the pathological consequences of HIV infection. Despite the urgent need, efforts to develop an HIV vaccine candidate that is likely to be highly effective have been unsuccessful to date. These efforts have been impeded by the lack of a good animal model for HIV challenge studies and our failure to identify specific correlates of immune protection, as well as other factors. However, dissection of
immune responses from animals protected by vaccination or studies of individual humans who appear able to control HIV replication and possibly resist infection may provide new insights for vaccine development. While the course and time to an effective AIDS vaccine cannot be predicted, there can be no question of the importance of the effort. "The results of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS poll conducted by the Kaiser Foundation found that Americans not only refute the notion of an end to AIDS, but they support an increase in research funding, effective prevention efforts and better
availability of life-prolonging treatments. The poll also indicated overwhelming support (73 percent)
for ensuring that new life-prolonging drug treatments are made available to all HIV-positive
Americans, not just the wealthiest or best insured. For HIV prevention, Americans indicated
strong support including programs such as needle exchange (64 percent support) and television condom advertising (62 percent).(Strack,8)
"AIDS ranks near the bottom of the list of the top 10 mortal diseases and accounts for about 35,000 deaths annually. Heart disease claims 720,000 lives annually, and cancer kills 505,000. Yet the
federal government will spend more on AIDS than on heart disease ($828 million) and cancer ($2.4 billion). (Strack,12)" AIDS funding generally is allocated according to the numbers of people who ever have contracted AIDS including those already have died not those currently diagnosed with HIV. Three recent reports on AIDS research funding, including a major effort by 100 scientists and advocates to be released, stated "that a large proportion of the $1.3 billion spent by the National Institutes of Health in 1997 went to programs that have little or nothing to do with AIDS.(Encarta, 1996-97)" Many people feel that most of the funding for AIDS is wasted on protecting the confidentiality of people with AIDS. Some of the money for AIDS was used to help keep the individual health institutes in business and some was siphoned off to cover basic research that wasn't related to the AIDS battle. Many Americans know about how the AIDS money is spent and feels that since this injustice in occurs, money can be used in areas of science.
The AIDS virus is an epidemic that is proven to be around for a long time. Many people have lost their lives due to this disease. The disease effects both the rich and poor of society. It has made
society become very discriminate against people with AIDS. It has also escalated the hate of society towards the homosexual group of our culture. Many people have lived in fear because of it with hopes that no one will find out they have the disease. By increasing government spending on AIDS treatments and vaccines will be invented to help fight this disease.