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At the beginning of the 20th Century it was believed by many, including the United States Patent Office, that there was nothing else to invent. Now, 100 years later at the beginning of the new millenium the ancient Egyptian philosopher is more relevant, "there is nothing new under the Sun". While HIV/AIDS may be a new disease, there is nothing new about a novel epidemic, which can potentially or actually decimate a population. In the late middle ages, the Black, now known as the Bubonic Plague, swept through Europe killing virtually half the population. It was introduced by a single or small group of rats that came to Italy abroad a trading ship from what is now Turkey. Small Pox transmitted by trade goods from the Hudson Bay Company wiped out entire Native American tribes. There are other examples of diseases accidentally introduced to a population that had no genetic immunity to them. Not to mention NASA's fear of an unbeatable super virus from outer space. Now as in previous diseases, one of the dangers of HIV/AIDS is not only in its plague proportions but also in the almost superstitious misunderstanding of the virus itself. In the treatment of all illness, it is necessary to understand the emotional, economic, psychological and sometimes even political impact that is brought about by the disease. This is particularly true with a disease that is as devastating and heretofore misunderstood as HIV/AIDS. AIDS is the punishment of God on sinners. AIDS is a plot by the CIA and the South African Government to wipe out the population of black Africa. AIDS is the result of medical experimentation during the development of the polio vaccine employing the use of rieces monkeys as guinea pigs. AIDS is this, AIDS is that; AIDS is the end of the world. There is nothing new under the Sun. As we enter a new millenium, we are still controlled by prejudice, fear and superstition. AIDS is not the end of the world, it is simply the latest challenge the medical community needs to meet. There are new things to invent including an immunization and cure for HIV/AIDS. But before that we must overcome the age-old superstitious fears of the unknown and rise above the prejudices that we harbor of, "those people". Let us understand HIV/AIDS. AIDS, the acronym for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is the end stage disease of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

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