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HIV and AIDS

Exposure of AIDS and The Gay Community

10/27/2005

Question:

I'm sorry this is not really a comment, but a question. Why is it that AIDS started more in the gay communities? More specifically gay males? Why not gay women?

Answer:

The virus was first seen in Africa, where heterosexual transmission is by far most common. Transmission there is higher when people have multiple sex partners. AIDS was recognized in the U.S. first in gay men who were exposed to many different sex partners and in Hemophiliacs who were exposed to blood products from many different donors. The rapid spread in these groups was facilitated by the frequent chances that individuals in those groups had to come in contact with the virus. The same transmission dynamics are true today - the more exposures to blood or bodily fluids one has, the higher the risk for acquiring the virus.

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Response by:

Peter T Frame, MD Peter T Frame, MD
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati