History and epidemiology of acquired immune deficiency syndrome

LA LevyCalifornia College of Podiatric Medicine, San Francisco 94115, USA.

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Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were first noticed in the US in 1981 and continue to spread today. Initially a disease associated completely with homosexual males, it is increasing in incidence and prevalence among heterosexual males and females, particularly, but not limited to, injection drug users. This disease is much more prevalent among blacks and Hispanics. Podiatric physicians are at risk of acquiring the disease as a result of their frequent use of injections and surgical intervention, particularly involving bone. In addition, the foot is a potential portal of entry for HIV infection because of contamination by blood on the feet of podiatric surgeons and their assistants during surgery.