How Has Aids Affected Our Society? Essay

1260 Words Sep 23rd, 1999 6 Pages
How has AIDS affected our Society?

Today more Americans are infected with STD's than at any other time in history. The most serious of these diseases is AIDS. Since the first cases were identified in the United States in 1981, AIDS has touched the lives of millions of American families. This deadly disease is unlike any other in modern history.
Changes in social behavior can be directly linked to AIDS. Its overall effect on society has been dramatic. It is unknown whether AIDS and HIV existed and killed in the U.S. and
North America before the early 1970s. However in the early 1980s, "deaths by opportunistic infections, previously observed mainly in tissue-transplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy", were recognized in
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Prevention efforts that promote sexual awareness through open discussion and condom distribution in public schools have been opposed due to fear that these efforts encourage sexual promiscuity among young adults.
Similarly, needle-exchange programs have been criticized as promoting drug abuse.
Governor Christine Todd Whitman vetoed a bill in New Jersey that tried to create a needle-exchange program. She was accused of being "compassionless". She replied that she could not allow drug addicts to continue to break the law. By distributing needles, she felt that she was, in fact, encouraging them to break the law. Prevention programs that identify HIV-infected individuals and notify their sexual partners, as well as programs that promote HIV testing at the time of marriage or pregnancy, have been criticized for invading personal privacy. Efforts aimed at public awareness have been propelled by community-based organizations, such as Project Inform and Act-Up, that provide current information to HIV-infected individuals and to individuals at risk for infection.
Public figures and celebrities who are themselves HIV-infected or have died from AIDS-including American basketball player Magic Johnson, American actor
Rock Hudson, American diver Greg Louganis, American tennis player Arthur Ashe, and British musician Freddie Mercury-have personalized the disease of AIDS and have thereby helped society come to terms with the enormity of the

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