Friday, June 1, 2012

AIDS History

It all began in 1979 when United States medical investigators diagnosed twelve cases of infection from “Opportunistic germs” in male homosexuals.
In these cases they observed that viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa which normally do not harm humans provoked serious infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and gastroenteritis, which could be fatal. They also found a type of skin cancer known as Kaposi’s sarcoma, a very rare disease in the Western world. They recognized the infection and the cancer as a manifestation of a deficiency of the immune system that is, a lack of body defenses. They called the phenomenon AIDS-Acquired immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Three years later, in 1982, similar symptoms began to appear in addicts who injected drugs, and in hemophiliacs who had blood plasma transfusions. The syndrome was detected in women and children also, though in very small numbers. Cases of congenital disease in which body defenses are lacking have been known previously, such as the “bubble children,” so called because they much spend their lives inside sterile plastic domes to isolate them from the infections of the outside world. However, unlike these “bubble children,” homosexuals and drug addicts with AIDS have had to acquire their immune deficiency at some time in their lives. When and how does this happen? At the end of 1983 it was discovered that the transmission agent in this illness is a virus usually found in the victim’s blood and semen.
At first AIDS appeared to afflict males exclusively. But in 1981 the first case appeared in a woman. Since then there have been about 1500 female AIDS victims in the United States, of which about 900 have died. Of these women, more than half are users of intravenous drugs. This suggests that the woman contracted AIDS by this method. The other half was infected in various ways, including anal intercourse. Interestingly, according to the Centers for Disease Control, only small percent of all AIDS cases have resulted from normal heterosexual relations.
Why does vaginal intercourse not favor transmission of the virus? This is a physiological act which nature intended. Unlike the rectum, the vagina has no muscular ring at its entrance, and its flexible muscular covering does not compress the penis. The vagina is also provided with abundant lubricating mucus. Besides, its lining mucosa is stronger, with fewer tendencies to bleed than the lining of the rectum. All of this facilitates, under normal conditions, easy penetration by the penis with much less risk of producing small lesions.
AIDS: special issue

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