chapter  17
18 Pages

Relieving Pain in Malignant Disorders: The Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and Cancer

It has been more than a decade since the first case of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was identified in the United States. Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of this disease, is felt to be present in more than 1 million people, with over 500,000 cases of AIDS having been reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention through October 1995.1 In part, this number re­ flects the decision of the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention in 1993 to expand the criteria to allow the diagnosis of AIDS to be made. Between January 1, 1993 and March 31, 1993 a 20 percent increase in the number of AIDS cases occurred, compared to the same time frame in 1 9 9 2 .2 The magnitude of this problem is evident when one realizes that worldwide it is estimated that 18 million adults and 1.5 million children have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, with 4.5 million having developed AIDS.