FROM OUTBREAK TO EPIDEMIC
Today what we now know as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was once a mysterious illness beginning to brew in the United States. In 1981, in Los Angeles, California, doctors became alarmed when otherwise healthy young men were diagnosed with PCP (Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia) a rare yet severe immunodeficiency disease which at the time was seen only in immune-suppressed patients with cancer or patients receiving drugs for organ transplants. What was more baffling was more of these diagnoses were being seen in New York as well. This alarmed the CDC (Center for Disease Control), which upon investigation saw a spike in the drug Pentamidine orders, a drug used for treatment of PCP. To get a better understanding a report was released by MMWR (Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report) illustrating this new disease manifestation. By doing so this led to further investigation into this disease progress.
*It was noted in the report that among the patients studied in that group, all shared specific commonalities. All were men between the ages 25-36, active homosexuals, now diagnosed with PCP, CMV (Cytomegalovirus) which is a member of the herpes virus, opportunistic infections(such as thrush), highly fatal with geographic clusters in L.A. and NY. Doctors also noted a spike in cases of Kaposi Sarcoma (type of cancer) caused by the herpes virus. These patients began displaying purplish vascular lesions which were usually only seen in patients over 60yrs of age and of Mediterranean & Eastern European descent.
Once pieces of the puzzle began to form, the CDC needed to give this new disease manifestation a name, so in 1982 AIDS: Acquired (because it didn’t come from birth) Immune Deficiency (because of a lot of opportunistic infections) Syndrome (because a lot of different things were going on with these patients). With a name now given, a definition was needed for:
* Rapid id...