Aids and Capitalist Medicine


  • Charles W. Hunt





In the spring of 1981, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, began to see an unusual pattern of illnesses. These illnesses were not usually seen in healthy adults but were generally found in individuals who were either very young or very old and who had compromised immune systems. Such diseases as Kaposi's sarcoma (a type of skin cancer), toxoplasmosis (a usually harmless parasitic disease often spread by cats and chickens), thrush and herpes began to appear in patients along with severe weight loss and fevers of unknown origin. Those who had these "opportunistic" infections were unable to shake them and died as a result. The patients in these cases were all healthy and 20 to 40 years old, supposedly the time of greatest health and vigor. As the spring turned to summer and the cool days of fall approached the CDC began to see more and more of these cases concentrated in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Since all the early victims were homosexuals, this cluster began to be referred to as "Gay-related immune deficiency" (GRID) by many although this was never the official name used at the CDC.