My primary source, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the week of June 5th, 1981 is very important to the history of AIDS because it was the first published report that established health problems due to immunosuppression within the homosexual community. Without its publication and nationwide reach it may have taken researchers much longer to establish the connections made in the report. This would have led to the search for treatment being delayed and many more dying from the disease. It is also very interesting that this particular article was not the cover article for the week (one about the Dengue fever was) as the writers had no idea of the impact it would have.
The research I did while forming my primary source analysis (and the other projects) gave me a completely new understanding of the AIDS epidemic and it’s societal and medical context. Medically, I did not realize that it took so long for a connection to be established between patients and for the disease to even be named. I was truly shocked by how little was known about the disease in the early years, and once I discovered more about the medical context it made me understand better how the disease was able to spread so rapidly. Socially, I knew coming into the class that AIDS victims had been treated poorly in the early years of the epidemic (and some still are to this day), but I need not realize the extent to which they were maltreated. I was also shocked when I learned how the medical community also discriminated against AIDS victims. The research also helped me further develop my “crap detector” and hone my internet research skills. The annotated bibliography was especially helpful in this way, and was also the first time I had seriously utilized Google Scholar, which I plan to be using much more in the future. The research truly helped me with my understanding of both the AIDS epidemic and how to conduct college-level academic research on the internet.