In the early 1980s, the first cases of two rare illnesses, Kaposi’s sarcoma (a cancer) and pneumocystic pneumonia, were reported in California and New York. Around this same time, health care providers began to report on an unusual immune system failure among gay men in the United States. Epidemiologists were generally baffled by the variety of symptoms they were seeing among male homosexuals. Some used phrases like “gay cancer” and "gay plague” to describe this new disease (1).
While not fully understood at the time, it is now believed that the HIV/AIDS epidemic actually gained momentum in the mid-to-late 1970s. Researchers have since identified HIV-infected people and blood samples that existed prior to 1970(2). The past two decades of scientific responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic have been marked both by rapid progress leading to important discoveries. Yet, many of the answers to critical questions about this disease either remain unknown or are jeopardized by diverse political agendas.
2. Mann J. M. AIDS: A Worldwide Pandemic. In Current Topics in AIDS, Volume 2, M.S. Gottlieb, D.J. Jeffries, D. Mildvan, A.J. Pinching, T.C. Quinn, & R.A.Weiss. (eds.). John Wiley & Sons, 1989.
3. Stine, G.J. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: Biological, Medical, Social, and Legal Issues. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993.
4. Cohen, P.T. Clinical overview of HIV disease. HIV InSite Knowledge Base Chapter. San Francisco, CA: Center for HIV Information, University of California, San Francisco, 1998. Retrieved on February 2, 2004 from http://www.hivinsite.com/InSite.jsp?page=kb-03&doc=kb-03-01-01.
5. Kanki, P.J. & Essex, M.E. The Past and Future of HIV/AIDS. In The Emergence of AIDS: The Impact on Immunology, Microbiology, and Public Health, K.H. Mayer & H.F. Pizer (eds.). Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2000.
6. Farmer, P.E., Walton, D.A., & Furin, J.J. The Changing Face of AIDS: Implications for Policy and Practice. In The Emergence of AIDS: The Impact on Immunology, Microbiology, and Public Health, K.H. Mayer & H.F. Pizer (eds.). Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2000.
7. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). How HIV causes AIDS. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 2001. Retrieved on January 14, 2004 from http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/howhiv.htm.
8. Avert.org. The History of AIDS 1987-1992. Retrieved on February 4, 2004 from http://www.avert.org/his87_92.htm.
9. Avert.org. The History of AIDS 1993-1997. Retrieved on February 4, 2004 from http://www.avert.org/his93_97.htm.
10. Riddler, S.A. & Mellors, J.W. Clinical applications of viral load testing. HIV InSite Knowledge Base Chapter. San Francisco, CA: Center for HIV Information, University of California San Francisco, 1998. Retrieved on February 17, 2004 from http://www.hivinsite.com/InSite.jsp?page=kb-03&doc=kb-03-02-04.
11. Cohan, Deborah. Perinatal HIV: Special considerations. Topics in HIV Medicine, 11(6): 200-213, 2003.
12. Simoni, J.M., Frick, P.A., Pantalone, D.W., & Turner, B.J. Antiretroviral adherence interventions: A review of current literature and ongoing studies. Topics in HIV Medicine, 11(6): 185-198, 2003.
13. AIDS Action.org. Keeping Time: Social and Governmental Developments in HIV. Retrieved on October 4, 2004 from http://www.aidsaction.org/timeline/body.htm.
© Sociometrics Corporation, 2004