Is Was Unfortunate That AIDS Hit The Gay Community First


Length: 1033 words (3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Is Was Unfortunate That AIDS Hit The Gay Community First


If the United States had known 20 years ago what it knows now about the transmission and progression of HIV, it would have most likely taken greater steps to contain the spread of the virus. However, it was then unknown that each diagnosed case of AIDS represented hundreds of cases of undiagnosed HIV in the greater population. It was also unknown that HIV's eight-year incubation coupled with its mode of sexual transmission would rapidly result in one of the worst epidemics in modern history.

In hindsight it is unfortunate that AIDS first broke out among a sector of american society which was as marginalized and sexually liberated as was the gay male sector of american society. Despite all the positive measures taken by the gay community to promote AIDS awareness and research after the epidemic broke out, the adversarial relationship they had with the Reagan administration and the promiscuity associated with their sexual revolution contributed towards the spread of AIDS.

In the HBO movie, And the Band Played On, adapted from Randy Shilts's best-selling book of the same title, it is suggested that the spread of the AIDS epidemic could have been contained had the health issue been given appropriate attention and funding from the outset. This may not be true. Whether or not AIDS could have been contained may have depended on the population it was affecting. If so, the fact that AIDS hit the homosexual population first may have been particularly unfavorable for two reasons. First, according to the best information on the risk of transmission associated with certain behaviors made available by the CDC, anal sex is the act mostly likely to transmit AIDS. Anal sex is practiced in the male homosexual population far more than in any other sector of american society. Second, the gay male population was considerably promiscuous in the early 1980s as a result of their recent sexual revolution. Sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV ran rampant through public bath houses, where gay men would engage in anonymous sex with other men. These two factors contributed significantly to the spread of AIDS.

While it is impossible to know if the AIDS epidemic could have been completely contained, it is certainly true that an earlier understanding of the HIV virus and its modes of transmission would have dissuaded some people from engaging in the types of high-risk behaviors associated with HIV transmission, and hence saved lives.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Is Was Unfortunate That AIDS Hit The Gay Community First." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Nov 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=26200>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on AIDS: The Modern Day Epidemic - AIDS: The Modern Day Epidemic Did you know that if a straight line of pennies was made down any given road, extending one mile, there would be over a hundred thousand dollars worth of change on the street. Dimes. Well over a million dollars. How about something that hits closer to home, something like lives. In 1996, when the AIDS pandamenic was at its peak, a memorial quilt made of individual panels about six feet by three feet in size was displayed in Washington D.C. Each square of the quilt represented a single victim whose life was claimed by the disease....   [tags: AIDS]
:: 9 Works Cited
2140 words
(6.1 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
AIDS in Africa Essay - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is one of the most deadly viruses in the world. No country in Africa has escaped the virus. Some have been effected more then others though. The spread of AIDS in Africa is because of poor medical treatment and a lack of education on the part of the people. HIV is the virus which causes AIDS.(Aids in Africa,1994) HIV stands for Human Immune-deficiency Virus. The virus attacks the bodies immune system and weakens it. Scientists have wondered about the origin of HIV ever since the epidemic emerged....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1151 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
AIDS Essay examples - AIDS AIDS, is known as, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome and is the disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus is transmitted from one person to another through means of intimate sexual contact or exchange of blood or bodily fluids “(whether from contaminated hypodermic needles or syringes, transfusions of infected blood, or transmission from an infected mother to her child before or during birth)” (Schaefer; p. 119). AIDS has become a worldwide epidemic that has struck every identifiable group....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 1008 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
AIDS Essay - AIDS Invades Rural America AIDS has been a problem in the United States for many years now. However, many people view victims of AIDS as homosexuals or drug users; this is no longer the case. AIDS is now being spread through teenagers in rural America. Many problems have arisen from the increasing number of victim in smaller America cities where hospitals and doctors are not able to provide suffienct treatment because of a lack of funding and experience. Also, the young adults that have no contracted the virus are victims of emotional and verbal abuse, because small-town America is not used to dealing with the AIDS virus....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 936 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
AIDS Essay - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). "The virus was discovered in France in 1983 and in the United States in 1984. In the United States, it was initially identified in 1981. In 1986, a second virus, now called HIV-2, was also discovered in Africa.(Bookshelves)" Female prostitutes in Africa probably spread it very quickly. AIDS became a huge crisis of major proportions in parts of Africa. It is my own strongly held opinion, and that of most medical and research community world wide, that the AIDS epidemic is a serious problem....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 1032 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on AIDS - AIDS is a serious (often fatal) disease of the immune system transmitted through blood products especially by sexual contact or contaminated needles. It is the most serious outcome of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. People with AIDS often suffer lung, brain, eye and other organ disease along with debilitating weight loss, diarrhea, candidacies, dementia, toxoplasmosis and a type of cancer called Kaposi's Sarcoma, and makes the immune system weak and therefore less able to fight certain infections and diseases....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 967 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
AIDS Essay - “Nearly 90 percent of Russia’s HIV infections occur among addicts sharing dirty needles” (Klesius, p.35). This percentage from a National Geographic magazine would differ heavily from that of the United States. The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation reported that through the year 2002 in the state of Colorado that only 9% of aids cases in the state were due to injection drug use and 25% on the national level. (Kaiser Family Foundation) In the United States, Men who have sex with men would more closely share Russia’s dirty needle problem for being the number 1 cause for AIDS transmission with 46% in the U.S....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 1307 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on AIDS - Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is a currently recognized disease. It is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks selected cells in the immune system and causes them to function defectively. These deficiencies may not be apparent for years. They lead to the suppression of the immune system's ability to combat harmful organisms. This leaves the body open to invasion by various infections, which are called opportunistic diseases, and to the development of unusual cancers....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 708 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Aids Essay - Aids The issue of HIV/AIDS has been a developing concern since the early 1980's. It is an issue that has sparked fear in everyone, but "society" has narrowed it down to certain people that can contract the AIDS virus. The stereotypical "AIDS" victim is not an IV drug user or a practicing homosexual; it is anyone, anyone who has unprotected sex, anyone who has had a blood transfusion in the past twenty years, or anyone who was innocently brought into the world by an infected mother. As unfair as it is, HIV/AIDS can attack someone whom society would have never "branded" as a stereotypical AIDS victim....   [tags: Free AIDS Essays] 907 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
HIV/AIDS Essay - HIV/AIDS No one can be certain about how or when the AIDS virus emerged. The closest related disease would be a simian immunodeficiency virus. This is where the suggestion arose that this disease was first contracted from a primate. It has also been thought that this once primate-only disease had evolved and somehow became transmitted to people. On June 5, 1981, the first report of AIDS hit the United States. The people weren't quite sure of what they were dealing with, so mistakenly, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released an article concerning a strange outbreak of pneumonia within the male homosexual community....   [tags: HIV and AIDS] 874 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




It is very likely that swift and ample funding for AIDS research would have accelerated the process of isolating the virus and developing tests and treatments for it. But as the film points out, the fight against AIDS did not receive the immediate support it deserved because of the low socio-political status of the people who were contracting HIV.

The AIDS epidemic was given so little consideration in early 1980s America because it was primarily affecting only the gay male population. As such, it was not perceived to be a severe threat to public health by most heterosexual americans, and was ignored by the mainstream media as well as the Reagan administration. As a direct result of the adversarial relationship between homosexuals and the Reagan administration, many gay communities were unwilling to give up the freedoms they had recently gained through the sexual revolution. Gay communities perceived the recommendations of the CDC to close public bath houses because AIDS was possibly a sexually transmitted disease as an attempt by the government to take away homosexuals' civil liberties. It was not until 1987 when Reagan first acknowledged the AIDS epidemic, the last public bath house was closed, and the first AIDS demonstration was broadcast on network television. Perhaps if the AIDS epidemic had struck a portion of the american population more favored by the Reagan administration, it would not have taken Reagan seven years to acknowledge the problem existed.

Still, there are some positive consequences of the gay male community being the first group to contract AIDS. When it became clear that the U.S. government was not going to offer support to the homosexual community to fight the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, the gay male population realized the onus was on them to mobilize politically and promote AIDS awareness and funding. Several grass-roots political movements were founded, including the Gay Men's Health Crisis and the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP). ACT UP was instrumental in fast-tracking AZT through the FDA testing process, which at the time was the only medication for AIDS patients. ACT UP was one of the most effective grass-roots political organizations of this century that fought its way into the public eye in March of 1987 by being the first and only political organization to actually shut down Wallstreet for five minutes. Funding for these grass-roots political efforts as well as AIDS scientific research was subsidized by donations from the relatively wealthy gay male population. If AIDS had first shown up in another marginalized sector of american society that did not have as many financial resources as the gay male population, the political actions of that marginalized group would have probably been less successful, and the development of treatments and tests for AIDS would have probably taken much longer.

In relation to other marginalized sectors of the american population that would have been similarly discriminated against by society and the government, it is definitely a positive consequence that AIDS first struck homosexuals, for the financial resources and political activism of the gay male community ensured that people with AIDS were treated with dignity and respect, as opposed to being dehumanized and quarantined. But notwithstanding the positive contributions made by the gay male community to promote public awareness and funding for the fight against AIDS, the epidemic is likely to have been less widespread had it first hit a sector of the american population that was more mainstream, such as middle-class, white heterosexuals. In conclusion it is unfortunate that AIDS first broke out among a sector of american society, which was as marginalized and sexually liberated as the homosexual male population because these two factors significantly contributed to the rapid spread of AIDS.


Return to 123HelpMe.com