What is New and Not so New in the History of AIDS?

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What is new and not so new in the history of HIV/AIDS? The history of HIV and AIDS is peppered with similarities to other epidemics seen throughout history. However, in many ways HIV/AIDS presented new ways of looking at and dealing with disease in our modern culture. This essay will examine these two separate avenues of thought, and will help to illustrate both the individuality of the epidemic, and its’ uniformity. How was the history of AIDS/HIV not so new? In the United States, HIV and AIDS began to be seen in the early 1980s. From the beginning, the disease was socially tied with the homosexual community. Early names for the disease included “gay compromise syndrome”, “gay cancer”, or “community-acquired immune dysfunction”. This stigmatization of homosexuality with AIDS/HIV is one of the reoccurring themes seen throughout time in regards to disease. Also, throughout the 1980s, AIDS also retained the stigma of immorality and promiscuity. These stigmas developed because of the general characteristics of HIV transmission. Transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus occurred through behaviors that were seen as socially deviant and immoral, including homosexual sex, promiscuity, and intravenous drug use. In this way, a negative stigma of immorality and homosexuality was molded. This development of stigma can be seen in various diseases received in different cultures and time periods around the globe. For instance, Hansen’s disease, more commonly referred to as Leprosy, has retained a stigma of uncleanliness, immorality, and savagery for thousands of years. “Leprosy has long been the archetype of a stigmatized health condition, to the extent that the words leprosy and leper are used as curse words in many societies.” O... ... middle of paper ... ...ics. Works Cited 1. Brakel, Wim H., and Beatriz M. Galarza. "Infectious Diseases: A Case Study of Leprosy-Related Stigma." The Stigma of Disease and Disability. Ed. Patrick W. Corrigan. Washington: American Psychological Association, 2014. N. pag. Print. 2. Ruel, Erin, and Richard T. Campbell. "Homophobia and HIV/AIDS: Attitude Change in the Face of an Epidemic." Social Forces 84.4 (2006): 2167-178. 3. Johnson, Hans, and William Eskridge. "The Legacy of Falwell’s Bully Pulpit—A Commentary by William Eskridge 78." The Legacy of Falwells Bully Pulpit Commentary by William Eskridge 78. Yale Law School, 19 May 2007. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. . 4. Hoad, Neville Wallace. "The Intellectual, The Archive, and The Pandemic."African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 2007. 92-98. Print.

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