The Cell that Started a Pandemic Essay

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The Cell that Started a Pandemic This Radiolab podcast talks about how the HIV/AIDS epidemic started: the ultimate patient zero story, a very recent event that still hurts and still bleeds. Carl Zimmer the guest speaker of this broadcast states that in 1981 doctors described for the first time a new disease, a new syndrome which affected mostly homosexual men. The young men in Los Angeles were dying and the number of cases was growing faster and faster. The number of deaths was increasing from eighty to six hundred and twenty five in just the first few months. After the first few cases in LA, AIDS was declared to be one of the deadliest pandemics the world had ever seen after the plague in the Middle Ages. Another guest speaker and…show more content…
According to Randy Schultz, Dugas became somewhat sinister and malicious. He would sleep with a male partner in a bathhouse in San Francisco or somewhere else and then when the lights came up he would say: “I've got gay cancer, and now you are going to get it too.” Dr. Selma Dritz was part of the CDC study and one of the doctors that had talked to Dugas about the gravity of the situation. In an interview Dr. Dritz states: “I told him he was getting other people sick with it and he responded: “It is my civil right to do whatever I please. I’ve got it why shouldn’t they have it as well?” You can kill yourself if you want to but you have no right to take someone else with you. Dugas responded: Scr*w you! And walked out.” From that point on Dugas single-handedly was responsible for causing an epidemic in the United States. Another fact mentioned in the podcast is the existence of a movie based on this Patient Zero story; by the time the movie was made over 2.5 million people had died from HIV/AIDS. A twist in this story happens when further research proves that Gaetan Dugas WAS NOT PATIENT ZERO. Since they needed a beginning and a way of explaining the death of over sixty million people by the end of the decade, Dugas just happened to be the choice the media and researchers had made. Scientists started looking at patients who died from similar mysterious causes in the past and they started finding

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