A preliminary search on the website for the Center of Disease Control (CDC), showed that one of the nationwide reportable diseases is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which develops from a positive HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) status (Center for Disease Control, 2004, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/aids-hiv.htm). This virus kills or damages the body's immune system so that it is less able to fight off opportunistic infections. This disease is passed from person to person through body fluids, usually through unprotected sex or by sharing needles. Before screening procedures were in place, it was also spread through blood transfusions (HIV Infection and AIDS, 2003, http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/hivinf.htm).
While HIV/AIDS has been considered a disease that is usually seen in the gay male population, current studies show other populations with an increased incidence of HIV/AIDS, which include women, Hispanics, and African-Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. As of 2002 (most recent year of reported statistics), there were 42,745 new cases of AIDS, with 14,095 deaths reported from causes associated with AIDS (CDC, 2004, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/aids-hiv.htm). The following will present an annotated bibliography of support groups and websites for this disease.
HIV/AIDS is considered to be a negative social disease, as well as a physical disease; therefore, support groups tend to be very protective of their members. While there are websites available providing information for finding support groups, most actual support groups are not online, but are part of larger associations that have assessment services that orient clients toward the appropriate support groups. These groups usually post contact names and phone numbers on the larger websites for those who want information from them directly. Below are some of the support groups found after a search.