History and Progress of HIV/AIDs

14 04 2010

In November of 1980, a researcher for the University of California at Los Angeles, Michael Gottlieb, was searching for patients with immune deficiencies to use in his testing of a possible method for counting T-cells.  He found three patients who each suffered from yeast infections initially as well as persistent pneumonia.  All three had a low count of T-cells in his tests.  By April of 1981, he decided that they may have a unknown syndrome and he contacted the health department to seek out similar patients.  Within a month he found two more with identical symptoms.  Another similarity was that they were all male homosexuals who admitted to using drugs recreationally.  On June 5, 1981, Gottlieb published a report on his findings and this was the beginning of the research into AIDS (Duesberg 145-147).  One year later, in July of 1982, the Center for Disease Control named the disease Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Duesberg 150).

AIDS is a result of Human Immunodefiency Virus (HIV), which is a virus that is comprised of ribonucleic acids (RNA).  RNA viruses are also called retroviruses and once inside a body system, they recreate their cell composition into the deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) or cells (MedicineNet).  There are several types of RNA viruses, but HIV is a result of the lentivirus classification, which describes RNA viruses that have a very long incubation period (Kanabus, et al).  As it infiltrates the body, this virus attacks and weakens the immune system and eventually can deplete a person from being able to fight off infections.  Once a person with HIV is infected with another disease, such as cancers, tuberculosis, herpes, pneumonia, encephalitis or that person’s T-cell count is below 14% of their total lymphocyte count, they are then diagnosed as having AIDS, which means their symptoms have advanced to the worst stages of HIV(UCSF).  A person infected with HIV might not ever advance to the stage of AIDS, it depends entirely on what illnesses they are exposed to.

When I was in the fifth grade the news about AIDS became a focal point in the media and I can remember the panic that my teachers and parents and other adults placed on us children, telling us how even using a public restroom could kill us, as could kissing another person, touching a person who may have the disease and even breathing in their air could infect us.  While we now know that a lot of that was just overly dramatized due to ignorance of the disease, there is a social stigma surrounding AIDS and HIV.  In the medical office we could dramatically worsen a person’s confidence and emotionally traumatize them if we were to treat them with any more caution than other patients.  And in knowing that the Standard Precautions, when properly utilized, are significant enough measures to prevent transmission of HIV, I don’t believe that we should act in a manner outside of our typical behaviour, especially not one that could potentially alert others to do the same (Woods).  We should however make certain to document thoroughly any ailments into their chart as it could be a predicting element of infections.

There are a lot of various theories on the originations of AIDS and of HIV, ranging from AIDS being distinct from HIV and being created for warfare, to the idea of individuals practicing sexual acts with animals (Kanabus et al).  From a medical point of view, I don’t believe it is relevant how the disease entered the human race so much as understanding that it is a part of our world now and that at this time there is no known cure.  We need to act in a safe manner, but we also need to realize and remember that the people who are infected with HIV or AIDS didn’t ask for this burden and it can be emotionally troubling for them if people in the world around them look on them as contagious.  While part of our work in the medical field is to treat and provide for their health needs, I believe there is also an equal expectation that we should have compassion for other humans and treat them with that dignity they deserve.

Work Cited

Duesberg, Peter. Inventing the AIDS Virus. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Pub., 1996. Print.

Kanabus, Annabel, and Sarah Allen. “The Origin of HIV and the First Cases of AIDS.” AIDS & HIV Information from the AIDS Charity AVERT. Ed. Bonita De Boer. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <http://www.avert.org/origin-aids-hiv.htm&gt;.

“Retrovirus Definition – Medical Dictionary Definitions of Popular Medical Terms Easily Defined on MedTerms.” MedicineNet, 26 Mar. 1998. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5344&gt;.

“AIDS – Diagnosis.” University of California at San Francisco Medical Center. University of California at San Francisco, 5 Oct. 2009. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <http://www.ucsfhealth.org/adult/medical_services/infect/hiv/conditions/aids/diagnosis.html&gt;.

Woods, David, ed. Perinatal HIV. Electric Book Works, 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <http://ebwhealthcare.com/content/view/1241/37/&gt;.



4 responses

20 05 2010

I’m going to link back to mine, cool post!

21 05 2010

I never knew about the reason that they found aids and all and I was too one of those kids that heard all the scary stories about how even a toilet seat could kill you.
Nice post Tia!

20 06 2010

I never knew the total origin on discovering AIDS. You always seem to be a walking encyclopedia

15 07 2010

That’s what they call my daughter, I think she comes by it naturally ;)

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