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5 pages/≈1375 words
Social Sciences
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How the AIDS Crisis in The US Developed (Essay Sample)



During the early 1980s, it was reported that a mysterious disease was spreading through the country and physically brutalizing the infected before they inevitably succumb to the disease. Scientists all over the country were baffled as to exactly what type of disease this is and what factors were accelerating its spread. Perhaps in one of the earliest breakthroughs as far as diagnosis and treatment of HIV is concerned scientists discovered that people primarily succumbing to this mysterious disease had extremely low counts of t cells in their bodies. The film and the band played on features a Danish woman possibly in her mid-forties who die due to complications related to pneumocystis carinii. This is a type of illness that is primarily associated with immune-compromised patients, and a patient suffering from a range of complications as far as their immune system is concerned.
The case of the woman occurred in Zaire and scientists remained in the dark as far as the circumstances leading up to and including the contraction of the disease are concerned. The movie proceeds to show more cases of this new and extremely opportunistic disease claiming lives of a number of ever-increasing individuals throughout the United States of America. Just as the film portrays, real life scientists found it extremely difficult to pin point the nature and mode of transmission of this mysterious illness. Perhaps it was because, at the time, it was a relatively new and previously unheard of concept and thus proved extremely troublesome for scientists. The modes of disease assessment used at the time were not adapted to dealing with this type of disease. Therefore, this made it ever more increasingly difficult for scientists to identify this disease and formulate ways of curbing its spread and reducing the numerous numbers of people left dead in its wake.
Among the first major discoveries in relation to the fight against HIV and aids was the discovery that in its early years, it mostly occurred among the gay community (Jennings, 2012). This led to the disease at first being called the Gay Related Immune Deficiency or GRID. This discovery led to a rather casual perception and approach towards the disease. At the time, the evidence available suggested that the disease only existed among the gay community and was thus their problem. Some were of the belief that God was responsible for inflicting this illness on the gay community as a means to make them atone for their pagan lifestyles or to punish them for the social lives they led. The belief at the time that this mysterious disease was exclusive to the gay community went a long way in aiding the spread of the disease right under the noses of the world’s best scientists at the time. People who were not members of the gay community found absolutely no cause for caution or a need to watch their sexual lifestyle. The gay community also proved difficult to deal with as far as the fight against aids was concerned. Perhaps it was maybe because they felt marginalized by mainstream society. The gay community refused to divulge information to the scientific community with regard to their sexual history and endeavors. In the film and the band, plays on there were repeated calls for closure of bathhouses where members of the gay community went to satisfy their sexual fetishes, but these calls sadly were ignored.
The hospitals also showed great reluctance and inactivity as far as curbing the spread of HIV and aids is concerned. Despite suspicion and ultimately proof that this disease could be spread through contact with contaminated blood some hospitals still ignored screening of donated blood. Unsuspecting patients were thus infected with this deadly disease due to mass ignorance of medical practitioners and the casual manner in which they addressed the issue of this new mysterious but apparently deadly to a fatal extent disease (Hall, Lynn, 2003).
Politics and struggle for prominence also went a long way in aiding the spread of HIV and aids unnoticed by scientists. The film and the band played on gives the best example of how this happened. Dr. Don Francis is one of the lead researchers in the forefront of the onslaught on this new and deadly disease. He works at the center for disease control in Atlanta and barely has any money to fund his research or elaborate space to carry out his activities. He is in pursuit that this new disease is most likely caused by a sexually transmitted virus of a similar model to that of the feline leukemia. Dr. Robert Gallo, a fellow researcher on the matter and a very decent one at that, completely cuts off his assistance to Dr. Francis when he stumbles upon the knowledge that Francis might have shared some of his own experimental material and findings with French researchers in pursuit of the truth behind this new and indeed mysterious disease. Gallo views the French researchers not as fellow soldiers on the same fight that he just happens to be on or his fellow teammates but as rivals for a Nobel Prize, which he claims is undoubtedly his. Politics and egoism in the scientific community thus prevents the formation of a very powerful alliance that would have otherwise tipped the scale as far as the fight against this new and mysterious disease is insecure is Gallo that he proceeds to secure a patent for some of his previous work to ensure that the French do not steal it and claim it is their own. Meanwhile as the world’s top scientists were busy stroking their egos and politicizing a completely nonpolitical matter countless innocent people were falling victim to a pandemic and succumbing to a disease they neither knew nor understood.
The federal government at the time could have acted quickly and with high levels of sternness and perhaps the spread of HIV and aids could have been arrested and contained. The government instead of taking a hand on approach to this imminent health catastrophe in the making chose to do what it does best, play politics. The issue of HIV and aids became almost more political than it was medical with prominent figures in an influential position ignoring the crisis either because it would look bad on their political portfolios or to protect their own. The apparent inactivity by the federal government aided largely the spread of HIV (Hall, Lynn, 2003).
Another aspect that greatly contributed to the rampant spread of HIV and aids in its earl...
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