Aids in the 1980s History Essay


Aids in the 1980s

The 1980s were a period of transition for everyone. The modification was underway; fashion, music, and cultures were changing. While the world was adapting to all those changes a deadly disease crept in almost unnoticed by the public. The new disease was given the name Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).  No one would have ever thought that the new disease that started out so small would, in a short period of time, grow to be so large and devastating.


“Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is an infectious disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV… AIDS is the advanced form of infection with the HIV virus, which may not cause disease for a long period after the initial exposure (latency). No vaccine is currently available to prevent HIV infection” (Frey 59).  AIDS “is already the fourth biggest cause of death in the world” (Aid for AIDS).  The number of people infected is steadily increasing with 15,000 adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four contracting the disease daily; adding to the thirty-four million people currently infected (Aid for AIDS).

“It is estimated that one-half of all new infections in the United States occur among people younger than 25, most of whom are infected through sexual behavior”(Butler and Cooper).  Since the disease first surfaced some twenty years ago, it has killed some twenty-two million people (Researchers say there will be an AIDS vaccine within 10 years). These figures are likely to double maybe even triple if no one takes a stand.

“Americans between the ages of 13 and 14 are becoming infected with HIV at a rate of 2 people per hour. Youths under age 25 represent about one-half of all new HIV infections” (AIDS risk is high among young people). In comparison to adults, young people are putting themselves at a greater risk of contracting AIDS because they are much more sexually active (AIDS risk is high among young people). Having multiple partners, unprotected sex, not questioning a partners health condition, and lack of knowledge are the major problems with the increasing number of adults becoming infected with AIDS.

The sixties and seventies may have marked the time that many people let go of their sexual inhibitions, and went with what felt good; starting a trend of casual sex. By the ’90s casual sex became even more casual. With the AIDS virus spreading like wildfire across the world, teenagers and young adults did not slow down with their sexuality.

Young adults and teenagers know the risk they are taking when they engage in sexual relations with another person, but do not believe that they can contract AIDS nor do they think that their partner would have AIDS. In a way, society portrays AIDS carriers as prostitutes, drug dealers and/or homosexuals, which is false. People of all races and genders are and can carry the disease.

Typically people do not question their partner’s health or sexual history because they feel that they have met their personal standards of looking healthy or because they are just embarrassed. AIDS id somewhat of a silent killer; the carrier often looks perfectly healthy. A person could have the virus for several years and never know, but during those years of not knowing the infected person could have infected a numerous amount of people. People living with the disease have the option of never telling others of his or her health condition.

AIDS awareness should be the main objective of AIDS-activists. So many people know so little about AIDS, and sometimes the little that they do know is wrong or insignificant. AIDS awareness should be taught in schools and in the home. The issue should be addressed boldly and publicly. The virus is attacking communities so the communities need to fight back. The only way to do so is to educate the youth because they are the ones who are being severely affected by AIDS. The youth need to be taught of the importance of remaining abstinent. So many lose their virginity are a young age, because other people are doing it or because it feels good.


“AIDS is considered one of the most devastating public health problems in recent history” (Frey 59). People usually assume that AIDS is a result of risky behavior such as unsafe sex or the misuse of needles, but there are many other ways one could intercept the disease. For many, unsafe sex and the misuse of needles are not socially acceptable; in turn, leaving those who are infected feel alone and often ostracized.





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