Blake DanielEnglish 105January 31, 2017HIV/AIDS     Over a million US citizens live with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The number continues to grow with fifty thousand people diagnosed every year (Prowse KM et al. 2013). Once an individual contracts HIV, the virus can be controlled, but never cured. The HIV virus attacks white blood cells that protect the body from disease. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the final stage of development for the HIV virus. People do not die directly from AIDS, but they die from the inability to fight off other diseases such as cancer. Recent research has provided more comprehensive information on risk factors and risk reduction of this emerging disease.     Sexual preference is one of the most common risk factors associated with HIV/AIDS. In the 1980’s, AIDS was known as the “gay disease” because it was relatively isolated in the gay community. In 2010, fifty percent of the total infected population were homosexual men. (Purcell DW et al. 2013). The next group to see a major influx in HIV/AIDS diagnosis was intravenous drug users because of the possible contaminated blood being transferred between users. Another risk factor is race/ethnicity. African American women consist of sixty one percent of the total women diagnosed with the virus whereas Caucasian women makeup seventeen percent (Henry-Akintobi T et al. 2016). Other risk factors include drug use, sexual promiscuity, and abusive relationships which can often go undetected. Every year, nearly one and half million women find themselves in abusive relationships.  These high risk relationships can lead to the use of drugs and alcohol, and often these activities lead to lower inhibitions.   It is during these episodes when lapses of judgement often interfere with safe sex, and increase the likeliness to use contaminated needles (Prowse KM et al. 2013).     Once HIV/AIDS entered the general population, there was a strong push was on to find a cure and treatment.  People began to alter behavior by reducing high risk activities such as unprotected sex and reuse of syringe needles. The fear of contracting the disease lead Americans into uncomfortable dialogue around sex, gay issues, and drug use.  Many controversial social issues such as condoms in schools, promotion of abstinence, and organized needle distribution programs arose from the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s (Barnett T and Parkhurst J 2005). In the gay community, counseling and informational sessions have proven to help reduce the risk of HIV, as well as diagnose men who are unaware they have the virus. New research allows these men to receive treatments that will reduce the spread of HIV (Purcell DW et al. 2013). Other programs such as The HEAL Intervention are available to women. These programs aim to reduce substance abuse and provide information about sexually transmitted diseases, which leads to a safer sex life lowing the risk for infection. (Henry-Akintobi T et al. 2016).