Discuss the trends in the spread of infection of HIV.


Initially, AIDS was considered an almost exclusively homosexual disease as there were unusually high outbreaks of Kaposi’s sarcoma and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia among small numbers of male homosexuals in New York City and San Francisco. Later, the number of cases among individuals with Hemophilia A and other high-risk communities (such as intravenous drug users) began to increase. Then, individuals who were recipients of blood transfusions began contracting the virus.

The disease continues to spread despite new medications and educational efforts. The acceleration of transmission of the disease continues in countries such as Southeast Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. Currently, in the United States, unprotected heterosexual sex is the fastest growing method of transmission, predominantly in minority women. Crack cocaine use is an important factor in the transmission of the virus as it often leads to prostitution. There are increasing trends in the transmission of the disease among young gay males and among males over the age of 50.

In developing countries, heterosexual contact remains the largest portion of HIV cases, but male homosexual contact remains the largest source of HIV cases in the United States. In the United States, half of all of the new infections occur in individual’s ages 24 and younger. Among young males, homosexual contact remains the primary source of infection, however heterosexual contact remains the primary source of infection among young females. A decline in HIV infection has not occurred among youth. The majority of new HIV infections occur among adolescents and young adults. Minorities and women of childbearing age experience a disproportionate number of new infections.


For additional information see Reading Assignment: “Life Care Planning Issues for the HIV+/AIDS Patient” and Chapter 26 of your Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management text

Kitchen. “Life Care Planning Issues for the HIV+/AIDS Patient.” In P. Deutsch and H. Sawyer (Ed.) A Guide to Rehabilitation. White Plains, NY: AHAB Press.

Murphy. (2004). “Life Care Planning for the Child with HIV/AIDS.” In S. Riddick- Grisham (Ed.) Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management. (p.609-625) Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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