"Learning From AIDS"

Olivia Ozeranic
November 2, 2014

The biggest epidemic of our time right now is Ebola. Ebola is a severe often-fatal virus. It is spread through human-to-human transmission of bodily fluid. Another epidemic that comes to mind when thinking about Ebola is AIDS. AIDS is a disease where there is a severe loss in body immunity. This causes the body to struggle when resisting infection. Both Ebola and AIDS caused people to be scared for their lives.

Many people are so unaware about the diseases and think that simply through being in the same room as someone infected by the disease will cause you to get it. AIDS shocked the world mainly in the 1970s and 1980s. Now we are dealing with Ebola during our day-to-day life. It's crazy to think that most of the American population didn't learn much from going through this kind of disease outbreak before. The Ebola scare is just like the AIDS one; yet no one seems to be listening to his or her doctors.

The late 20th century was a time of fear in the health world. Many people were creating non-sense things of what they thought AIDS was all about. People would say or do anything just to feel a little bit safer. AIDS was thought to be a gay disease at first. Now we know that Aids can only be transmitted through bodily fluids of someone already affected with the disease to someone without it.

Ebola is a current epidemic. Many people couldn't even explain what Ebola is if they were asked; yet they fear it incredibly. This unawareness is what hurt us during the initial AIDS period.

A nurse who tended to the first Ebola case in the US flew from Texas to Cleveland and back not realizing she had been infected. This shocked Americans at the lack of decency she had to get on that plane. It made Americans angry even though this nurse was not at fault. It was thought that being on the same plane as someone infected with Ebola could cause someone to get the disease.

A doctor stated that he would fly on the plane and sit next to the infected nurse because that is how unlikely it is to be on the same plane as someone with Ebola and get the disease. America is so oblivious to what is really going on with the Ebola epidemic yet they are in total fear. It seems silly to be afraid of something that one knows little about.

When the whole Ebola outbreak started to occur, my father stated that it reminded him of how people felt during the AIDS outbreak. Scared and helpless are commonly used words during a time like this. What needs to happen is people need to trust in their doctors and become more aware of what is really going on. This way, we can get through the current epidemic together and survive it in a better manner than the HIV times.

Symptoms of Ebola. Image created by Mikael Häggström