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May 6, 1983

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome The Ever-Broadening Clinical Spectrum

Author Affiliations

National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1983;249(17):2375-2376. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330410061029

The acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is characterized by a severe and apparently irreversible acquired defect in cell-mediated immunity that predisposes the host to severe opportunistic infections and/or unusual neoplasms such as Kaposi's sarcoma.1 It has attracted an extraordinary amount of attention, interest, and concern in the medical community as well as among the general public. Indeed, the concern is justified, since we are witnessing at the present time the evolution of a new disease process of unknown etiology with a mortality of at least 50% and possibly as high as 75% to 100% and with a doubling of the number of patients afflicted every six months.

The disease was first believed to be confined to a particular epidemiologically defined segment of the population, ie, male homosexuals.2,3 Earlier hypotheses suggested that there was something within the life-style of male homosexuals that predisposed them to this syndrome. Various theories

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