HIV/AIDS, Social and Ethical Implications for Business

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system, damaging the cells that enable the body to fight infections. When HIV progresses so that CD4+ T cells, a certain type of white blood cells, are severely diminished, an individual with HIV then has acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This entry examines the history of HIV/AIDS, legal protections for people with HIV/AIDS, the global impact of HIV/AIDS, and its implications for business ethics.


In 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first reported what was to become known as AIDS. Five cases of a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), were identified in gay men in San Francisco. The same men also had certain opportunistic infections. In 1981, a rare cancer called Kaposi’s ...

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