Several conclusions can be drawn from the previous chapters. First and foremost, HIV affects everyone in some fashion or another, whether it is personally, relationally, socially, economically, or politically. Many, perhaps, perceive HIV and AIDS as being a problem “overseas” (e.g., Africa, Asia, India). We must not be so ethnocentric and narrow as to perceive HIV and AIDS as a problem solely affecting non-western, non-industrial, underdeveloped countries. Indeed, even as the authors were writing this text, the number of HIV and AIDS cases increased worldwide and also in the United States. For example, the AIDS figure reported in chapter 1 was 774,467 and the number of cases reported through 2001 was 816,149 (CDC, 2003b). Thus, even as this book evolved, so did the number of HIV and AIDS cases and they continue to do so. As indicated next, many groups often dismissed in terms of the dialogue about HIV and AIDS are quite affected. According to the CDC's (2002b) Surveillance Report:
Of all HIV infections in 2001, 39% progressed to AIDS within 12 months after diagnosis of HIV infection. AIDS was diagnosed within 12 months after the diagnosis of HIV infection for a larger proportion of older persons (35 and older), Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, IDUs, and persons exposed through heterosexual contact. (p. 6)
As indicated earlier, within the United States, HIV and AIDS are typically referenced in the same breath as men having sex with men. Not addressed as readily are older adults, heterosexuals, or individuals from various cultural backgrounds. As acknowledged by the CDC (2003b), “The AIDS epidemic is far from over” (2). Until that day when a cure or effective vaccine is found, propositions are offered as a synthesized reflection of what has been addressed in the preceding chapters.