Abstract

By the end of 1987, nearly 50,000 cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) had been reported since 1981, 20,745 in the past year alone. Black and Hispanic adults and children have reported rates 3 to 12 times as high as whites. This can be largely attributed to higher reported rates in black and Hispanic intravenous (IV) drug abusers, their sex partners, and infants. In 1986, reported AIDS deaths increased adult male and female mortality in the United States by an estimated 0.7 and 0.07%, respectively, with much greater increases in selected age groups or areas of the country. The greatest variation in infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (0 to 70%) has been found in surveys of IV drug abusers, while surveys of homosexual men reveal infection rates of 20 to 50%. Infection with HIV ranged from 0 to 2.6% in limited sexually transmitted disease clinic surveys of heterosexual men and women without a history of IV drug abuse or known sexual contact with persons at increased risk. The modes of HIV transmission are now well understood, but a large amount of biologic variability in efficiency of transmission remains to be explained. The period between initial infection with HIV and the development of AIDS is variable, but the risk for disease progression increases with duration of infection.

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