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HIV and treatments for it have had a tremendous impact on the LGBTQ population. This entry first examines HIV and AIDS from a medical perspective, and then looks at the evolution of treatment for the disease and its effect on the LGBTQ community from the 1980s until the present.

HIV and AIDS

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the retrovirus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). As of 2011, there are 34 million HIV-infected persons in the world. In the United States, 79% of all HIV diagnoses are of gay and bisexual men. HIV enters the host’s body and attacks immune cells known as T-helper cells. When a viral or bacterial infection or cancer is present, these cells trigger the body’s full immune response. Without T-helper ...

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