Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is caused by the presence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). AIDS was first recognized as a disease in 1981, when it led to the deaths of 130 Americans. The number of annual AIDS-related deaths rose dramatically over the ensuing fourteen years, reaching a peak of 51,414 in 1995. Then, with the introduction of widely available antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in the mid-1990s, the incidence of AIDS deaths in the United States began to decline sharply. Since 1998, the yearly death toll has ranged mostly between 17,000 and 19,000 – with a low of 15,798 in 2004, the lowest total for any year since 1986.
According to UNAIDS, by the end of 2005 there were 1.2 million people infected with HIV/AIDS in North America, of which 43,000 had been diagnosed during that year. All told, between 1981 and 2004 some 944,306 people were diagnosed with AIDS. Fully 56 percent of those – or 529,113 – died of the disease. As a percentage of the overall adult population of the United States, the proportion of people infected with AIDS is 0.7%. The corresponding figures for other regions of the world are as follows:
- South/Southeast Asia, 0.7 %
- Latin America, 0.6%
- East Asia, 0.1%
- Eastern Europe/Central Asia, 0.9%
- Western/Central Europe, 0.3%
- Caribbean, 1.6%
- North Africa/Middle East, 0.2%
- Oceania, 0.5%
The most notable crisis is in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are currently 25.8 million people (7.2% of the adult population) living with HIV/AIDS. Each year, there are 3.2 million newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases and 2.4 million AIDS-related deaths in that region.
Soon after AIDS was first recognized as a disease, it became the most highly politicized affliction in human history. Gay-rights organizations throughout the United States depicted AIDS victims, most of whom were homosexual men, as people who had been cast aside and forgotten by a "homophobic" society. Activists further contended that Americans, because of their bias against homosexuals, had chosen to devote only meager amounts of funding to scientific research aimed at finding a cure for AIDS. The reality, however, was quite different: As early as 1990, the Public Health Service (PHS) allocated approximately $1.6 billion for AIDS research and education -- more than what was allocated for any other cause of death. In 1990, the CDC spent $10,000 on prevention and education for each AIDS sufferer, as compared to $185 for each victim of cancer and a $3.50 for each cardiac patient.
Gay activists depicted early efforts to curtail the AIDS epidemic by means of public-health measures as further evidence of "homophobia" and "intolerance." Thus they rejected proposals for the closure of bathhouses which had become breeding grounds for AIDS. Likewise, they rejected the prospect of federal laws requiring testing for the AIDS virus or the reporting of AIDS infections. And they rejected public health officials' request that homosexuals not donate blood while the epidemic persisted, as an infringement on their “right” to give blood. Gay-rights activists also undertook a campaign to portray AIDS as an equal-opportunity killer that would soon afflict heterosexuals as much as homosexuals.
The RESOURCES column located on the right side of this page contains links to articles, essays, books, and videos that explore such topics as:
- the prevalence and transmission of AIDS and the HIV virus in the U.S.;
- the leftist political dogmas and agendas of the gay lobby which have prevented American society from taking steps that could have saved the lives of many thousands of AIDS victims;
- the notion that the high prevalence of AIDS in nonwhite minority communities is the result of an orchestrated, racist campaign designed to kill off large numbers of blacks and Hispanics; and
- the prevalence and transmission of AIDS and the HIV virus in countries other than the United States -- with a special focus on the cultural, social, and religious factors that have exacerbated the problem in certain regions.