In June of 1981, in Los Angeles, California, the first case of AIDS in the United States was recorded. The failing immune systems of five previously healthy homosexual men set off an alarm in the minds of Dr. Michael Gottlieb and Dr. Wayne Shandera, who published their findings in the Center For Disease Control’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” Within the next eight years, the number of reported cases would jump from five to over 100,000. That’s how treacherous Autoimmune disease, AIDS is and this blog will tell you more about it.
AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. Not much was known about it when it began affecting Americans in the early 1980s, and as such, it is considered to have evolved from an ancient virus strain that initially only affected primates in West Africa. Though the theories of how SIV became HIV vary greatly, the prevailing theory is generally referred to as “bushmeat practices.” Hunters and poachers who had been wounded during a capture were likely to contract the virus if any of the animal’s bodily fluids reached those wounds. Improperly cooked primate meat and organs are also thought to be a means of early transmission.
HIV is permanent. Once you have it, you’ll always have it. And instead of exhibiting itself in a range of noticeable symptoms, it slowly and insidiously begins to destroy your immune system, leaving you open to infections and sickness. When your body’s immune system has been so severely damaged that it cannot fight off any invading infection, HIV enters its final and fatal stage, AIDS.
More than a million people in the United States are living with HIV today. Approximately 15% of them are not yet aware that they are infected. In the world, there are over 36 million HIV-infected individuals. Until 2017, when the mortality rate thankfully dropped, more than one million people were dying yearly from AIDS and AIDS-related diseases. With increases in medical care, pathology, and awareness, we are slowly but surely bringing an end to AIDS.