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HIV/AIDS as an Expression of Social Disadvantage

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HIV/AIDS is a globally infamous pandemic that still continues to spread all around the world, with its substantial effects on public health, social attitude and social disadvantages still evident even in today’s setting. HIV/AIDS does not only influence the physical health of those affected but has also become a historically consistent role in the perpetuation of systematic social inequalities, such as the marginalisation of minorities and those of lower socio-economic status, both on a micro and macro scale. This essay will mainly focus on the geographical and psychological aspect of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and truly analyse the social, political and behavioural effects this pandemic had, in different areas around the world. It will concentrate especially on how the outcome of contracting HIV/AIDS in the United States during the 1980s, gradually resulted in becoming an expression of social disadvantage, a root cause for poor mental health in those affected, an opportunity for activism against a biased system and a cautionary lesson for safer social and cultural practices. However, in order to fully understand the severity of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it is important to firstly have a basic biomedical understanding of the virus and how it operates.

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HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, this is the virus that causes HIV infection. The HIV infection affects the body’s immune system by attacking the T-Cells and reprogramming them, in way where they are able to make more copies of the virus. T-Cells are essentially what defend the body from infections, diseases and a variety of other foreign invaders (, 2019). The loss of these T-Cells result in the increased vulnerability of the body and so due to its weakened immune system, it becomes more and more difficult for the body to naturally fight off infections. Therefore, without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system and inevitably advance to AIDS, AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the most advanced stage of HIV infection; the normal T-Cell count range is between 500 – 1500, a person is diagnosed with AIDS when the T-Cell count drops below 200 (AIDSinfo, 2019). When diagnosed positive, the situation quickly becomes detrimental to a person’s ability to live happily and healthily. As the autoimmune disease develops, needs such as the ready availability and access to medication becomes an even more crucial necessity.

Unfortunately, availability of medication is not a possible reality for many people, especially those who are either from developing countries and/or are members of socially marginalised groups. This is very distressing as it becomes clear that the HIV infection has historically been increasingly concentrated in the poorest, most marginalized sectors of society in all countries (Wabiri, 2013). This is a reality that is extremely important to note because it principally addresses the idea that infections (like HIV/AIDS) can become and is an expression of social disadvantage. This is transparently evident when looking at marginalised groups everywhere, even in developed countries such as the United States where “…disproportionate levels of HIV infection have been documented among racial and ethnic minority populations. Rates are especially high among gay and bisexual men in communities of colour and among heterosexual women living in poverty in the inner cities. “ (Wabiri, 2013)

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HIV/AIDS as an Expression of Social Disadvantage. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from
“HIV/AIDS as an Expression of Social Disadvantage.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
HIV/AIDS as an Expression of Social Disadvantage. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
HIV/AIDS as an Expression of Social Disadvantage [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from:
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