“How many of us must die before all of us living fight back?”- Larry Kramer, AIDS activist

In Zimbabwe, an estimated 14 percent of adults are infected with AIDS, according to the United Nations.

Last week, Zimbabwe legislators had themselves circumcised, “to set a good example for the country,” reported the New York Times“Studies in Africa have shown that circumcision reduces by 60 percent the chance that a man will get HIV from heterosexual sex.”

Wrote Kevin Cunningham, author of Diseases in History: HIV/AIDS, “Since its discovery, HIV/AIDS has been one of the defining diseases of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Despite advances in knowledge and treatment, it remains uncured, and infects millions of people throughout the world each year.”

The earliest confirmed HIV infection was recorded in 1959 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Cunningham. Eventually, more and more cases popped up across the continent. “HIV took hold and spread in silence, its victims unaware they were infected, the people that gave it to just as unaware, and both, like everyone in the world, ignorant of the fact that anything like HIV even existed.”

In Zimbabwe, the epidemic swept across the population, infecting as many as 27 percent of adults in 1997, according to the New York Times.

Today, thankfully, those numbers have gone down with the help of awareness, research, and treatment. But AIDS still has a vice-like grip on the world’s population, and until a cure is discovered, it will continue to take victims.

Cunningham wrote, “AIDS was the first major infectious disease to emerge in the modern era of advanced science, mass media, and international institutions. The epidemics and the pandemic that followed have taught us a lot–about ourselves and the world and our vulnerability to new and undiscovered viruses.”

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about HIV/AIDS, read Kevin Cunningham’s Diseases in History: HIV/AIDS (ISBN 9781599351049)

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Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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