AIDS-Related Deaths Are On A Steep Decline
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It was 1981 when physicians began reporting that gay men were suffering from rare illnesses usually seen only in people with severely weakened immune systems. The mysterious condition that caused it was called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, and experts soon realized that it could affect anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It rapidly became an epidemic. At its peak, AIDS was responsible for 50,876 annual deaths in the United States. That was in 1995. A lot has changed since then. Antiretroviral drugs have been developed to fight AIDS by suppressing its associated virus, HIV. These drugs not only make it possible for people with HIV to live just as long as someone who's not infected, but they've even been shown to keep HIV from spreading to others. A 2011 study found that HIV-infected but otherwise healthy people who take antiretrovirals can limit their transmission of the virus by 96 percent, and a 2010 study found that even uninfected men can take the drugs preventatively to reduce their risk of infection.
It's "Patient O," Not "Patient Zero"
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In the early 1980s, young gay men started coming down with unusual and deadly illnesses, which were eventually attributed to a mysterious immune deficiency—the condition that would come to be known as AIDS. At the end of 1981, around 300 cases of the condition were reported. By the time HIV was discovered in 1984, there were nearly 8,000 AIDS cases in the U.S. alone. Throughout this horrific epidemic, one mystery nagged: who had unleashed this deadly disease? Who was North America's first HIV carrier?
Daniel Tammet Is The Autistic Savant Who Can Explain His Thought Process
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People with savant syndrome suffer from a mental disability, yet demonstrate extraordinary abilities in one specific area that go far beyond what is considered normal. The rare syndrome exists in people with all sorts of developmental disabilities and even brain damage, but seems to especially affect those on the autism spectrum. As many as one in 10 people with autistic disorder display savant syndrome to varying degrees. One such person is Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant who, since suffering an epileptic fit at age 3, has had extraordinary mathematical and language learning capabilities.
Rust Isn't What Gives You Tetanus
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Before we go busting too many myths, let's get one thing straight: if you step on a rusty nail, you should absolutely make sure you're current on tetanus shots. However, that's not because rust causes tetanus—it doesn't. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani, which makes its home in soil, dust, and feces. If you get a puncture wound from something that's been exposed to any one of those, regardless of whether there's rust, it's possible to become infected with tetanus. Nails are a common route for infection because C. tetani thrives in an oxygen-deprived setting like the one far below your skin's surface. Still, any injury that breaks the skin carries with it the potential for tetanus.
You Can Be Allergic To Water
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You've probably heard of peanut, pet dander, and even pesky ragweed allergies. But did you know that people can be allergic to water? According to a 2016 BBC report, there have been 35-50 known cases of water allergy, also called Aquagenic Urticaria, in the world. The first documented case appeared in 1963 when a 15-year-old girl's body broke out with hives after only a few minutes of water-skiing. Because this allergy is so rare, there is little scientific understanding of the condition. However, scientists have found that water allergy is more common in women and usually presents itself during puberty. According to Dr. Sarah Jarvis, a General Practitioner and BBC Radio 2's medical expert, "some people are so allergic to water that even their tears or their sweat can cause them to come out in a rash."