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How has AIDS affected our Society Today more Americans are infected with STDs than at anyother time in history The most serious of these diseases is AIDS Sincethe first cases were identified in the United States in 1981 AIDS has touchedthe lives of millions of American families This deadly disease is unlikeany other in modern history Changes in social behavior can be directly linkedto AIDS Its overall effect on society has been dramatic It is unknown whether AIDS and HIV existed and killedin the US and North America before the early 1970s However in the early1980s deaths by opportunistic infections previously observed mainly intissue-transplant recipients receiving immunosuppressive therapy wererecognized in otherwise healthy homosexual men In 1983 French oncologistLuc Montagnier and scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris isolatedwhat appeared to be a new human retrovirus from the lymph node of a man atrisk for having AIDS At the same time scientists working in the laboratoryof American research scientist Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Instituteone of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland and a groupheaded by American virologist Jay Levy at the University of California atSan Francisco isolated a retrovirus from people with AIDS and from individualshaving contact with people with AIDS All three groups of scientists hadisolated what is now known as HIV the virus that causes AIDSLorusso 2In 1995 HIV was estimated to infect almost 20 million people worldwide andseveral million of those people had developed AIDS The disease is obviouslyan important social issue AIDS has caused many to rethink their own social behaviorPeople are forced to use caution when involving themselves in sexual activityThey must use contraception to avoid the dangers of infection Many peopleconsider HIV infection and AIDS to be completely preventable because theroutes of HIV transmission are so well known To completely prevent transmissionhowever dramatic changes in sexual behavior and drug dependence would haveto occur throughout the world Prevention efforts that promote sexual awarenessthrough open discussion and condom
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