Medical Aspects of AIDS
In the spring of 1981, investigators at the UCLA Medical Center recorded five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, a virulent form of pneumonia uncommon in the United States (Centers for Disease Control, 1981a). Within a few months, clinical researchers in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles discovered 25 cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma, an exceedingly unusual cancer among young and otherwise healthy persons in this country (Centers for Disease Control, 1981b). None of the patients suffered from any underlying illness that would account for the development of these often fatal and unusual diseases, but each patient exhibited severe immune system impairment for unknown reasons and each was a young homosexual male. The syndrome accounting for these first few cases was not yet named but would shortly be identified as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Within just a few years, it would be considered the most serious infectious disease epidemic of modern times and be designated as the nation’s primary medical priority by the National Institutes of Health.
KeywordsFatigue Hepatitis Lymphoma Leukemia Pneumonia
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