AIDS researcher Dr. Paul Volberding was one of the first doctors to study the disease in the early 1980s. He worked at San Francisco General Hospital, the first facility to dedicate a ward to the disease . He is now the vice chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and co-director of the university’s Center of AIDS Research.
We asked him for his reflections on the 30th anniversary. Read them below:
“I started working at San Francisco General Hospital on July 1, 1981, my first day as a newly minted faculty member and my first real job as a 31-year-old. I was making my rounds and seeing patients with an oncology trainee just arrived from his residency in New York when I met my first AIDS patient.
And what a striking case he was. Twenty-two years old, covered with the lesions — purple skin nodules and plaques — of Kaposi’s sarcoma and cadaverous from severe wasting. It was an immediate introduction to the horrors of AIDS and the fascination of confronting a completely unknown human disease. My colleague commented that similar cases were being seen in New York, but this was several weeks before the very first notification of “Kaposi’s sarcoma” as part of this new disease in the medical literature.
Cases began to appear with increasing frequency. AIDS in those days was disfiguring, debilitating, stigmatizing and inevitably fatal, usually within months of first diagnosis.
We could do nothing to reverse the disease. All we could do was try to treat the infections and cancers that resulted from the immune deficiency and to control the many and accumulating symptoms every patient developed.
Chronic diarrhea, dementia, blindness, unbearable headaches, drenching sweating and faces and legs bloated from fluid collections caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma were only some of the problems we tried to control as our clinic became inundated with AIDS patients.
The initial response to AIDS was erratic and some health workers responded well immediately, while others did not. We had recurring cases of meals being left on the floor at the door of AIDS patients’ rooms and of nurses refusing to help changes bed sheets drenched with sweat during the night.
It was this variable response that led us to establishing the world’s first AIDS inpatient ward in mid-1983. Ward 5B was nursing led and all volunteers choosing to work with AIDS. But in part it arose from fear and a less than ideal professional response.
I recall distinctly my own fear. My wife, Molly Cooke, was also an early HIV doctor, and we were having our children in the early epidemic years. They were born in 1981, 1984 and 1987. I had recurring nightmares of having given AIDS to my kids at a time when we had no way to know what the cause was, how it might be transmitted and what the incubation period might be. Some of my colleagues remember no particular fear. I do.
But the need for our care was palpable. We quickly realized that our patients, who were almost all young gay men — and frequently estranged from their traditional families — had sources of support in the gay community. Existing groups pivoted to take on roles in AIDS care and new non-profits emerged as well. The medical community formed deep partnerships with these organizations, an essential element of what we called the “San Francisco model” of AIDS care.
We also quickly, and with little formal planning, created multidisciplinary care teams that included nurses working with doctors, phlebotomists, pharmacists, social workers, receptionists-all coordinating to improve care to AIDS patients. All were drawn by the compelling need of our patients, despite the fear of contagion hanging over our heads and despite the stigma we often faced from our friends and colleagues. AIDS was hardly a glamorous calling in the early epidemic.
When facing an exploding novel epidemic, research became a vital response. Working both at the University of California San Francisco and at San Francisco General Hospital, our initial “team,” Connie Wofsy, Donald Abrams and myself, eagerly sought to study this disease and develop treatments. In 1982, even before HIV was identified, I started a clinical trial of interferon for Kaposi’s sarcoma and gave my first TV interview for KQED.
The hope that this and other research gave our patients otherwise facing certain death attracted even more AIDS patients to “the General” as we affectionately called SFGH. We also became close to political leaders and the public health authorities and learned to work together in growing the San Francisco model of AIDS care and to make ourselves open to the media who helped the public understand this new challenge. By telling what we did, or didn’t, know and by showing compassion in our care, I’m convinced we helped avoid even more panic and discrimination. Those things did happen, but hardly ever here in San Francisco.
Thirty years later and counting, so much has changed and all for the good. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and this virus. But few people that felt the calling to HIV and AIDS have left the battle. We do hope to be replaced — and pretty soon — by the next generation. We hope they can learn from our experiences and most importantly our mistakes. In the words of Jerry Garcia, what a long strange trip it’s been.”
Below are 20 argumentative topics on AIDS organizations:
- Why Non-governmental Organizations Fighting AIDS Should be Allowed More Leeway to Operate in Different Countries
- Why AIDS Qualifies as One of the Top Three Most Devastating Diseases
- Proper Education as Groundwork for Care and Prevention of AIDS in Developing Countries
- Why Gender Inequality Can Negatively Impact the Ability of a Country to Offer Diagnostics and Drugs for Sustainable Responses to AIDS
- Why Condoms Are the Best Treatment and Prevention Programs against AIDS
- Why It Is Unethical and Immoral for Religious Organizations to Interfere in STD-Preventing Measures
- Survival of the Fittest Dictates That Countries without Reliable AIDS Organizations Should not Receive Professional Assistance
- Is World Health Organization the Best Agency for Shaping the Agenda of Health Research?
- Is Evidence-Based Policy Options from One Country the Most Reliable Source of Data to Substantiate Health-Related Policies for Countries of Entirely Different Demographics.
- Why It Is Economically Unviable for the WHO to Provide Technical Support to Countries Attempting to Monitor and Assess AIDS
- Why Investing in AIDS Can Save Lives
- Why the Subject-Based Testing for AIDS Treatment and Medication Is Not Unethical
- Why a Global Response to the Epidemic of AIDS is Necessary for Sufficient Global Health
- Benefit That Conferences Can Have for Educating Wider Audiences on Progress and AIDS
- Why Programmatic Responses are Imperative to AIDS Treatment
- Why Privately Operating Foundations Can Offer Better Solutions for AIDS Treatments Compared to Government Funded Programs Halted Regularly by Red Tape
- How Statistics and Facts from Government Funded Organizations for AIDS Can be Skewed to Help Benefit Local Policies and Politicians
- Why the UNAIDS Program Is Inefficient in Tackling the Problem of HIV/AIDS
- Why Local Resources Are the Best Resource to Rely Upon When Targeting AIDS
- Why Tackling Human Rights, Human Dignity, and Gender Equality Are Paramount to the Mobilization of AIDS Efforts
These topics are based on the facts about AIDS prevention organizations, so you can use both in the process of writing. In addition, to polish your paper, check with our tips on argumentative essay writing. Now, below is a sample paper that will be a good example for your assignment.
Sample Argumentative Essay on the Importance of Human Rights, Human Dignity and Gender Inequality for the Mobilization of AIDS Efforts
In order to mobilize efforts to prevent and treat AIDS, each country where AIDS is a prolific problem must tackle three key issues. The first issue is that of human rights. The second issue that of human dignity. The third issue is that of gender equality. Without these things, all of the most highly affected individuals will be unable to partake equally in the prevention, treatment, and care for AIDS.
In cases where there are serious human rights violations, there are often cases that are similar to those of gender inequality. Certain groups — be it classes, religious groups, or genders — are unable to acquire the assistance they need. In certain countries a gap between classes or religious oppression can prevent a particular class of individuals within that country from attending school or educational courses whereby they might be able to acquire the knowledge necessary to not only understand AIDS, but to stop its spread and to treat it when it exists. In areas like India where a strong class system exists, there are levels of separation which dictate the schooling and jobs that individuals can hold. Those without the means to get a decently paying job are left unable to afford the treatment they require or the medication they need.
Human dignity is something which dictates that everyone should be treated in a dignified manner. In places where human dignity is not respected, certain individuals may not be allowed to access the information or medication they need to properly treat AIDS. Communities which are led by strong religious leadership may prohibit their constituents from using the contraceptives that prevent the spread of AIDS because of the device by which the Romans tortured and killed Jews thousands of years ago, or Christian-based faiths. In some countries, the organizations attempting to provide said services are not allowed to access the constituents they need because of legal or social reasons. They may not have their freely given medication safe from theft or they may not have the transportation to get to the locations where such services are possible. In cases where sex remains a stigma, people who may need such services could be shunned from society or looked down up, thus having their dignity taken, for seeking assistance with this disease or any other.
Gender inequality poses one of the key threats to the successful eradication and treatment of AIDS. In countries where gender inequality prevails, women are denied their right to or have limited funding which prevents them from accessing proper sexual education, or any education at all. If women are not allowed to receive education, they cannot better understand the problem of AIDS or what treatments are available for them. In countries where women cannot leave the house without a male escort, getting to an area where help is being administered is often times prohibited and impossible no matter how dire the need. In the same area, being unable to hold a job limits the available income and means of travel and transportation that women have to the same medical information, treatment, and care afforded to males within the same community.
Finally, in countries where there does not exist gender equality, females may be unable to report cases of sexual assault or abuse that may have resulted in the transfer or AIDS or may be unable to use the contraceptives that work to prevent it when a man denies them.
In conclusion, in order to mobilize efforts to prevent and treat AIDS, each country where AIDS is a prolific problem must tackle three key issues. The first issue is that of human rights, that of human dignity, and gender equality. Without these things, all of the most highly affected individuals will be unable to partake equally in the prevention, treatment, and care for AIDS.
AIDS 2012. “AIDS 2012 Home.” AIDS 2012 Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
The next wave of HIV/AIDS, US National Intelligence Council, ICA 2002-04D, September 2002.
Cherkerzian, Diane. “Ray Carney Hacks Up Hollywood.” The Revolution Is Within. N.p., 06 Oct. 2009. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “HIV and AIDS – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” Global Fund Blog. He Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
UNAIDS. 1999. Guidelines for HIV Prevention in Emergency Settings. Geneva: UNAIDS.
Office of National AIDS Policy. “Office of National AIDS Policy.” The White House. The White House, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Nikoli´c-Ristanovi´c, Vesna. 1996. “War and violence against women,” in Jennifer Turpin and Lois Ann Lorentzen (eds.), The Gendered New World Order: Militarism, Development and the Environment. New York: Routledge, pp.
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