In keeping with all truly historically significant events, its impact recognizes no geographical boundaries, and on top of the huge loses of life and deep economic costs, AIDS has painted a wide spectrum of already marginalized groups with the stigma of being societal outcasts accompanied by the individual having to endure various cultural biases. In the United States, the problem has never presented the catastrophic effects witnessed in more impoverished locales, and Americans enjoy the benefit of a more immediate implementation of the latest technological advancements and medical breakthroughs.
A number of theories have developed around the phenomenon's origin, ranging from the mildly plausible to the overtly outrageous, giving AIDS a dual identity as another urban legend and an all too real modern day version of pestilence more commonly associated with the Middle Ages. What is certain is that it was in place by the 1980s, and was accelerated in its spread globally by undiagnosed disease, lack of access to prevention information, unprotected sex, poverty, increased drug usage, (especially intravenously), and massive denial.
Things that make you go hum.......................
"African Americans are more likely to be affected by Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) for many of the reasons that they are more likely to have HIV. STIs, particularly those that cause inflammed sores around the genitals, make HIV transmission more likely as they give the virus an easier passage into the bloodsream and can make immune system responses in the area less effective....some people of European descent have a small genetic mutation (known as CCR5 receptor mutation) that makes their immune T-cells partially or fully resistant to HIV infection .....as an entire racial group (ignoring other factors), whites are at a slightly lower risk of HIV infection than others." - from AVERT international AIDS charity Website (http://www.avert.org/hiv-african-american.htm).
Aside from the sweeping generalizations used to pinpoint and denigrate particular groups (which conveniently have an established tradition of persecution) associated with the disease, there are some legitimate factors that may explain why certain individuals have a high susceptibility towards infection. The reasoning goes that due to a sustained period of exposure to small pox, which shares similar biological characteristics with the HIV-1 virus (attributed to the majority of transmitted infections), these people were able to build up a more resistant immunity.
"...smallpox was only eradicated in 1978, at the same time AIDS appeared. The survival advantage this genetic mutation provided against smallpox has thus been transferred to AIDS, the authors noted." From "Smallpox in Europe Selected For Genetic Mutation That Confers Resistance to HIV Infection," in the Nov. 23, 2003 issues of ScienceDaily.
Perhaps its most tragic victims are those who become exposed through no conscious choice of their own. Each year world-wide, hundreds of thousands of infants are born with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which may then progress to AIDS rendering the child vulnerable to other infections, consequently continuing the viscous cycle begun with their parent(s) of illness, rapidly declining health, and left untreated, eventual death. Here in the United States, another population at great risk is the adult African American male population behind bars in an environment that promotes homosexual activity among those not normally so inclined, which in turn exacerbates a situation already accelerated by the surge of drug abuse and unprotected sex among heterosexuals.