How Doctors Cope With AIDS
THE danger of contracting AIDS through blood has caused some surgeons to adopt what The New York Times calls the “new surgical armor for the age of AIDS.” For the surgeon the armor includes “rubber boots, a full-length water proof apron, two pairs of gloves, water-resistant sleeve protectors and eye goggles.” And for particularly bloody cases, says the Times, “a helmet with a wraparound face shield.”
Significantly, toward the end of 1990, the Federal Centers for Disease Control said that of the 153,000 reported AIDS cases, 637 were physicians, 42 were surgeons, 156 were dentists and hygienists, and 1,199 were nurses.
AIDS was first identified in 1981. For a time it was confined particularly to male homosexuals and to drug addicts who were infected by contaminated needles. But its spread among women has been rapid. World Health, the magazine of WHO (World Health Organization), reported in its November-December 1990 issue: “The number of women [worldwide] expected to become ill with AIDS during the next two years will exceed the cumulative total of all the AIDS cases reported to WHO during the first decade of the epidemic.”
In the United States, the Federal Centers for Disease Control reported that by late 1990, there were 15,696 people over 50 years of age who had developed the symptoms of AIDS. That is a large number compared with only 2,686 cases of AIDS in children under 13, a group of AIDS victims that has received much greater publicity.
How do older ones contract AIDS? Most do so as a result of homosexual activities. However, according to The New York Times, “about 17 percent of the victims came in contact with the virus through tainted blood transfusions.” That amounts to about the same number of AIDS cases among the elderly due to blood transfusions as the total number of AIDS cases among children under 13!