Twenty years ago, HIV/AIDS was in the public eye on an almost continual basis. We hear about it a lot less these days, even though it's a cataclysmic problem, especially in parts of Africa.
How big a problem is AIDS in 2006? Its not as common as Hepatitis C, but its still a serious problem. A lot of people dont know they have it.
Is there enough public awareness of this disease? Probably, though there are still a lot of misconceptions about how its transmitted.
How difficult is it to live with HIV/AIDS? People dont start looking sick until theyve carried it for eight years. By 10 years out, half of those infected have chronic wasting, diarrhea and sarcomas, and then all kinds of fungal and viral infections. Once youre in the active phase, its pretty difficult to cope with. How did you learn of AIDS? Through the movie, And the Band Played On, back in the 80s.
Do you know anybody ill with it? This past week, I counseled four people in my practice who have it.
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How widespread a problem is HIV/AIDS? Its a huge problem in Africa, especially. I assume it has the potential to be an enormous problem here, too.
Is there enough public awareness of the disease? Im from England, and Ive only been over here since March, and I have a 2-month-old baby claiming my time, so its hard to say what the awareness is here. Theres widespread public awareness in England, though.
How much stigma does AIDS excite? Theyve done a lot of work to eliminate the social stigma in Europe. There, the emphasis is more squarely on it being a disease transmitted through intimate contact. How difficult is it to live with AIDS? I should think its incredibly difficult. Its a degenerative disease. Living day to day becomes increasingly difficult as it develops.
How widespread is AIDS? Its a huge, huge catastrophe in Africa. A horrendous percentage of the population is infected.
How aware of AIDS is the American public? Its faded from public awareness a bit, but its no less a threat. Drugs can keep people with HIV from getting full-blown AIDS, but theyre terribly expensive, and not everyone can afford them.
Is there a stigma to HIV/AIDS? I suspect anyone who tests positive would be very reluctant to reveal it to an employer, and having it makes it very difficult to get health insurance.
How difficult is it to live with AIDS? Victims have to take a large number of drugs and stay on them for the rest of their lives. I doubt if they can operate at their full potential.
Have you ever known anyone with HIV/AIDS? No at least not knowingly.