AIDS

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The media is full of aids stories these days. Articles in different newspapers and magazines headline the death of celebrities, new aids tests, and controversies about who should be tested, promising advances in the research labs, and frustrating and tragic problems of coping with the disease using the treatments available today. Aids is not only pervading the newspapers and magazines, but the television fare as well, not only the news items and features, but also in dramas sitcoms and soap operas. Aids has become an impetuous monster that has wrapped up society in its terrible claws through the fears it has promoted, the people it has affected, the true reality of the disease and the consequences it has brought upon its prey.
With all this media coverage, it seems as though aids is the number one health problem facing the world today. In opinion polls, this disease now rivals cancer and blindness as the health problem most people fear. The pervading of aids have prompted a reassessment of our beliefs and customs and have challenged our laws and social institutions (Mathews 21).
At first glance, the statistics do not seem to support this heavy emphasis. The total of all the aids cases reported in the United States has continued to rise, reaching more than 160,000 by the end of 1990, and the number of aids cases worldwide is close to a third of a million (Hull 22). These numbers may seem impressive compared to the number of people who gather to watch a World Series game or the Super Bowl and in reality they are. Yet each year three-quarters of a million Americans die of heart disease and close to a half million die of cancer, while the total of aids related deaths in the United States in 1990 was about 30,000. In 1990, aids ranked 10 among our top leading causes of death. Worldwide, aids tolls are only a fraction of the 200 to 300 million new cases and 2 million deaths from malaria each year (Silverstein 47).
Why all the attention to aids, then? It is just the latest media hype, playing on our emotions and needlessly building up our fears? There are several reasons why people have reacted so emotionally to aids.
First of all, it is a new disease. Cancer, heart disease, and malaria have been killing people ever since there have been humans on earth, but scientists did not even find out about aids since 1981.

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