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June 28, 1995

AIDS and the New Orphans: Coping With Death

Author Affiliations

New York, NY

JAMA. 1995;273(24):1960. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520480080046

This book is as timely as today's newspaper. For example, the New York Times front page article of March 4,1995, "Difficult custody decisions being complicated by AIDS," states,

As AIDS becomes more prevalent among heterosexuals, AIDS cases among women are growing by seventeen percent a year, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with three percent for the general population. Nationwide, experts estimate that as many as 125,000 children will lose their mothers to AIDS by the year 2000.

Eighty percent of those children are from Latino and African-American families.

In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, doctors in the Bronx encountered some women who had contracted the disease solely through heterosexual contact, usually with drug users. Their reports were met with skepticism because many scientists believed that "drug addicts only relate to drug addicts." It took considerable persuasion to convince them that their preconceptions

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