The Aids Epidemic
The history of AIDS is a short one. As recently as the 1970s, no one was aware of this deadly illness. Since then, the global AIDS epidemic has become one of the greatest threats to human health and development. During this time, scientists studied the behaviour of the virus in an attempt to find a cure. Statistics for the end of 2008 indicate that 2.5 million, in India are infected with HIV, it is third in the world in terms of greatest number of people living with HIV.
One of the major problems encountered from the epidemic has been the stigma attached to the illness. stigma not only makes it more difficult for people trying to come to terms with HIV and manage their illness on a personal level, but it also interferes with attempts to fight the AIDS epidemic as a whole. On a national level, the stigma associated with HIV can deter governments from taking fast, effective action against the epidemic, while on a personal level it can make individuals reluctant to access HIV testing, treatment and care.
It is now apparent from the bitter experience that AIDS is caused by the HIV virus, and that it can devastate families, communities and whole continents. The epidemic has been known to knock decades off countries’ national development, widen the gulf between the rich and poor nations and push already stigmatized groups closer to the margins of society. We are living in an ‘international’ society, and HIV has become the first truly ‘international’ epidemic, easily crossing oceans and borders.