On-Going Fear of AIDS Essay

On-Going Fear of AIDS Essay

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AIDS isn’t a disease people have known about since the 1800s. In fact, it wasn’t even known as AIDS until a couple years after its discovery in the 1980s. Before, it was called Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease, or GRID (“Natural History of HIV/AIDS”). And because of the fact it wasn’t discovered until the 1980s, people feared the disease and still do to this day. It’s been thirty years and many are still not properly educated about AIDS (Hawkins 16). The fear, stigmatization, and discrimination of people with AIDS and the disease in general have many underlying factors. People have feared and still fear AIDS today because of their misunderstanding of how AIDS is spread, their dislike of homosexuality, and their preexisting prejudices against many of the groups affected by AIDS.
In the early 1980s, AIDS was first discovered, but the doctors and scientists at the time did not know how it was being spread. Multiple cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and Kaposi’s syndrome were being diagnosed in gay men who were immunodeficient, meaning they couldn’t fight off a simple infection. The disease then quickly spread to drug users and hemophiliacs (“Natural History of HIV/AIDS”). Many possible causes were considered, but none of them were correct. The sexually transmitted disease HIV was soon discovered to be the cause of AIDS, but even then, people were mistaken by how AIDS was truly spread. A doctor at Elmhurst General Hospital in New York City in 1985 believed AIDS could be spread by a few
drops of urine on a toilet seat (Rimer). Some of the public believed the virus “was spread through the air, in food of by casual contact at home, at work or in school” (Rimer). The misunderstanding and not knowing how AIDS was being spre...


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Parker, Richard, Peter Aggleton, Kathy Attawell, Julie Pulerwitz, and Lisanne Brown. "HIV/AIDS-related Stigma and Discrimination:A Conceptual Framework and an Agenda for Action." USAID.GOV. Horizons Program. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. .
Parmet, Wendy E. "Stigma, Hysteria, and HIV." Hastings Center Report 38.5 (2008): 57. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. .
Rimer, Sara. "FEAR OF AIDS GROWS AMONG HETEROSEXUALS - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times Company, 30 Aug. 1985. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. .

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