[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

8269: 1983 early article on AIDS that mentions Haiti

From: Philippe Dumoulin <p.dumoulin@worldnet.att.net>

The AIDS Epidemic; The Search for a Cure

A new and deadly disease is coursing through the country, wasting the
bodies of victims, incubating in an untold number of others who have yet
to show symptoms and triggering one of the most intensive investigations
of an epidemic in medical history

By Jean Seligmann

		April 18, 1983 issue - Since it came into public view in
1981, derisively called "The Gay Plague," AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome), which ravages the body's immune system, has stricken 1,300
Americans-more than half of them in the last year. And there is no cure in
sight. "In my professional career, I have never encountered a more
frustrating and depressing situation," says Dr. Peter Mansell of Houston's
M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute. "People who you know are
likely to die ask what they can do to help themselves, and you are forced
to say, more or less, 'I have no idea'."	

THE DEATH TOLL to date-489-is far higher than the combined fatalities from
Legionnaire's disease and toxic shock syndrome. Fewer than 14 percent of
AIDS victims have survived more than three years after being diagnosed,
and no victim has recovered fully. The lethal disease, first reported in
the homosexual communities of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, has
spread to 35 states and 16 foreign countries, including France, Germany
and Denmark. And although gay men still account for 72 percent of cases,
AIDS seems to be moving into the population at large. First, intravenous
drug users of both sexes, then Haitian immigrants, and more recently the
sex partners and children of both groups have been afflicted. Hemophiliacs
and at least one recipient of a routine blood transfusion have also been
stricken. And then there are those who fall into no apparent category.

"As the months go by, we see more and more groups," says Dr. Anthony Fauci
of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "AIDS is
creeping out of well-defined epidemiological confines." According to Dr.
Jeffrey Koplan, a public-health expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control in Atlanta, Ga., AIDS will begin appearing with greater frequency
among heterosexuals as the epidemic grows. And growth is one thing most
AIDS researchers seem sure of: by the end of this year, predicts Dr. James
Curran, head of CDC's AIDS Task Force, there will be more than 2,000
cases. "It has caught everybody by surprise," says Dr. Abe Macher of the
National Institutes of Health. "Textbooks are being rewritten. We're
observing the evolution of a new disease."

The first cases of AIDS apparently sprang up almost simultaneously in New
York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In January 1981 a 31-year-old male
model arrived at the emergency room of UCLA Medical Center with a severe
fungal infection in his throat that almost completely blocked his
esophagus. The patient, a homosexual, had also suffered a drastic weight
loss in the previous months and weighed barely 100 pounds. Immunologist
Dr. Michael S. Gottlieb was puzzled. The unchecked growth of the white,
curdlike fungus suggested a breakdown of the man's natural defenses, but
he didn't fit any classic descriptions of immune disorder. Two weeks later
the patient developed a devastating lung inflammation. The diagnosis:
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). A rare parasitic lung infection
usually accompanied by fever and increasing shortness of breath, PCP is
seen almost exclusively in cancer or transplant patients taking drugs that
suppress their immunity.