What is AIDs?
HIV/AIDS or Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is the virus that attacks a person’s immune system, making it harder for them to fight off diseases, while AIDS is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus & occurs when the the immune system has been weakened to the point where it can no longer fight off many infections, in the later stages of HIV is when this happens.
How Treatment Works:
The treatment of HIV includes three prongs: hybrid drug cocktails and travel restrictions. The FDA was extremely slow in approving these hybrid drug cocktails, which eventually would reduce AIDS-related deaths by half. This shows the distance between government policy and the American people, who are very much shut out of decisions that directly affect their livelihoods. But government policy in this case also differs from expert opinion. The FDA had stringent rationing policies on these drugs, only allotting them to patients whose T-Cell counts under 200, despite the Journal of American Medicine Association recommending treatment be available to anyone with T-cells under 350. This shows an enormous discrepancy between who needs treatment and who is getting treatment, as a result of flawed government policy. It also shows the complicated dynamic between government policy, expert opinion, and the welfare of the American people. Here, we see a gap between government policy, the FDA, and expert opinion, the AMA. Expert opinion is more aligned with the welfare of the American people in this case, showing a departure from the dynamic we have seen in the past.
Reaction and Prejudice Delayed Healthcare:
Beginning on June 5, 1981 the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) began publishing about an illness that had caused the death of two males in Los Angeles who had similar symptoms of health complications and prolonged fever. In 1982, trends in the transmission of the syndrome were noticed and it was reported that it could be sexually transmitted and also through other bodily fluids. The lack of knowledge of this disease later recognized as HIV/AIDs caused fear to spread throughout the world of medicine and healthcare providers trying to take precautions to protect themselves and the greater public. The first American AIDs clinic was established in January of the same year, in San Francisco. Because the discovery of AIDs occurred in predominantly homosexual men, there was prejudice associated with it and noticeable hesitation by the government in seeking treatment as opposed to seeking protection. Additionally, general prejudice in society made it difficult for those seeking diagnosis or treatment to come forward and receive help. This idea connects with the idea that those within marginalized communities in the previous decades did not experience the same rights as others, even after years of organizations, protests, and more in hopes of reversing that.