AIDS:(acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the final stage of HIV disease, which causes severe damage to the immune system.

Unknown.jpegDiscovering AIDS

In 1980 doctors in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco began noticing patients who were dying because their immune systems had been rendered inoperative, making them susceptible to opportunistic infections.
Identified in 1981, the incurable disease known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) has had a major impact on American society. As ignorance and misunderstanding of the inevitably fatal disease—most commonly transmitted by intravenous drug use and sexual activity—gradually gave way to fuller knowledge, the number of reported cases in the United States rose from 225 in 1981 to 40,000 in 1987. By the end of the decade hundreds of thousands of Americans were known to be infected; it looked as if the nation were in the midst of an epidemic; and thousands of people began to transform their lifestyles in accordance with the new reality.


Male-to-male sex has been the most common mode of exposure among persons reported with AIDS (46%), followed by injection drug use (25%) and heterosexual contact (11%). The incidence of AIDS increased rapidly in all three of these risk categories through the mid-1990s; however, since 1996, declines in new AIDS cases have been higher among MSM and injection drug users than among persons exposed through heterosexual contact.


  • Cough and shortness of breath

  • Seizures and lack of coordination

  • Difficult or painful swallowing

  • Mental symptoms such as confusion and forgetfulness

  • Severe and persistent diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Vision loss

  • Nausea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting

  • Weight loss and extreme fatigue

  • Severe headaches with neck stiffness

  • Coma


  • People with AIDS are prone to develop various cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma, cervical cancer, and cancers of the immune system known as lymphomas. Kaposi sarcoma causes round, brown, reddish or purple spots that develop in the skin or in the mouth. After the diagnosis of AIDS is made, the average survival time has been estimated to be 2-3 years.
  • AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV.When HIV enters the blood streams a person may become infected with it.When this happens,a person is said to be HIV positive meaning that the presence of the virus has been detected within the body. A person with HIV does not necessarily have AIDS. AIDS is the result of HIV infection, but many people with HIV positive are still healthy and have none of the health problems associated with AIDS.

Annotated bibliography

World Health Organization/UNAIDS. AIDS epidemic update. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, December 2000 was very useful.I used this site for information.I reworded the information and added to it from my previous knowledge about Aids causes and symptoms.