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The emergence of HIV/AIDS and the Irish response.

By Marcella Duffy


AIDS is an acronym that stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency\ud Syndrome, a physical condition in which the body's immune system\ud has been compromised by the activity of a virus called Human\ud Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV). The syndrome, which in itself is a\ud purely medical condition, has implications that go beyond the realm\ud of medicine and into the social sphere. The main reasons for this are\ud the taboos surrounding the modes of transmission and also the fact\ud that, since there is no cure or vaccine, the syndrome is usually equated\ud with death. HIV / AIDS has been defined as pandemic, that is, a\ud worldwide phenomenon, threatening the stability of every societY,.\ud HIV / AIDS is a complex phenomenon, not only in its medical aspects.\ud It also unveils the structures of society, exposing poverty, attitudes\ud towards sexuality (the myths and taboos), racism, xenophobia, and\ud the socio-economic power structures. It forces society to question its\ud attitudes towards these issues and to integrate the consequences of the\ud syndrome in its midst. It is a stigmatised syndrome within society.\ud This is primarily due to the frequent avenues of infection, that is, sex\ud or rather certain sexual practices, and sharing of needles, a practice\ud mainly found amongst intravenous drug users. The initial naming of\ud the phenomenon, G.R.I.D. (Gay Related Immuno Deficiency), which\ud conveys obvious implications, led to stereotyping and scapegoating\ud which rendered most societies incapable of coping adequately with\ud the syndrome

Publisher: Sociological Association of Ireland
Year: 1993
OAI identifier:

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