The AIDS Epidemic
In the year 2005, more than four hundred and forty-five thousand United States citizens were diagnosed with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (“Diagnosis”). There are over fifty percent of Americans living with AIDS that rely on Medicaid (Lerner 21). AIDS directly affects all Americans in that many people are diagnosed with AIDS, which cost tax payers millions of dollars every year.
AIDS was first identified in the United States in 1981 (Lerner 3) Aids is caused by HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a retrovirus that impairs the immune system preventing the body from fighting infection. The HIV mutates constantly and quickly challenging the production of vaccines. The HIV virus is covered in a sugary molecule preventing antibodies from blocking the attachment of the virus to the cells (“Progress Report”). HIV is transmitted mainly through three routes; male-to-male sexual contact, heterosexual contact, and illicit needle use. HIV does not just float in the air; it cannot be transmitted by touching, kissing, or sharing utensils. “HIV must enter the bloodstream” (Flynn 26). HIV can take anywhere from a few months to many years to damage the immune system (Lerner 6). “By the end of 1996, over three hundred and seventy nine thousand two hundred and forty eight American men, women, and children lost their lives to AIDS according to the Centers for Disease Control” (Lerner 3).
The highest number of infected persons is in male-to-male sexual contact, at fifty percent. Next includes high risk heterosexual contact, which is having consensual sex with someone that has tested positive for AIDS, at thirty-five percent. The rate of survival estimated in the year 2004 is eighty to eighty-five percent living twenty four...