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Jim Cooper's Orange County is made possible by grants from the Harry and gray steel foundation providing charitable assistance to deserving organizations in the areas of health education and culture by Disneyland Park celebrating 30 years in Orange County County. By Signal Landmark Incorporated, developer of Southern California real estate and builder of Landmark homes and by Robert Half and Account Temps providing permanent and temporary accounting and computer personnel with offices in Newport Beach Beach and throughout Southern California. There's been 18,000 cases of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) confirmed in the United States since the disease was first diagnosed in 1981. Of these, 9300 9300 have died. In Orange County in the same period of time, 201 cases have been diagnosed. Of these 117 have died. Nationally than total number of confirmed AIDS cases is expected to double by the end of 1986. As of today there is no cure. All cases are fatal. Although the life span of AIDS patients vary widely. Up to now this serious disease has been surrounded by
misunderstanding and irrational fear because of the lack of factual information. I'm Jim Cooper and today I look into AIDS the facts and the fiction. There is no question that AIDS is a baffling, tragic, fatal disease. Calling for the highest priority and national medical resources for treatment and a cure. Seventy percent of all who become AIDS patients will die within two years.
There is another ominous figure. An estimated 500,000 to 1 million U.S. citizens have tested positive to the HTL B3 AIDS antibody. That's the test for AIDS. This does not mean that they have AIDS. The presence of the HTL B3 AIDS AIDS antibodies in the blood only means that they've been exposed to AIDS. However 10 to 20 20 percent of all positive blood tests eventually result in developing the disease. AIDS is largely transmitted sexually among homosexual and bisexual men, making up 73 percent of all the cases. 17 percent more are transmitted by needles of drug users, 2 percent by blood transfusions, 1 percent by heterosexuals who have been sex partners with AIDS patients. Now, let's see some of the things being done about it in Orange County. This is the immunology Research Laboratory of Dr. Sudhir Gupta, professor of microbiology and molecular biology at UC Irvine. AIDS disease impairs the body's immune system by destroying blood cells which fight infections. Here Dr. Lee ?Gooly?, a staff immunologist, is testing blood from AIDS patients
among a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes, are B cells and T cells that produce the antibodies that fight the disease. AIDS reduces those cells. The highly complex road to research on the disease includes weight scales for blood samples. The samples are then placed in a centrifuge to separate the blood for the purpose of further study. Dr. Gooley then takes the blood specimens into another room where she uses a florescent activated cytometry. The objective is to analyze the white blood cells where abnormalities which could lead to better understanding of the disease. The results of this blood research can be displayed through computerized technology. But the road is a long one and research like this cannot be hurried. Another research lab assistant continues to make experiments on scores of blood samples in the search to find immune system activators to trigger the body's immune system to ward off a number of diseases that can and do attack AIDS victims.
Another part of the battle against AIDS is going on daily at the Orange County Health Care Agency facility in Santa Ana. Here any person who thinks he or she may have been exposed to AIDS can get a free and confidential blood test to determine if they have AIDS antibodies. Last year 2600 of these free blood tests were given here about 17 percent or four hundred forty people had positive blood tests. Dr. Richard ?Norton? is medical director of the special diseases clinic for the county which provides free confidential testing for AIDS, Orange County has 201 confirmed cases of AIDS now. How seriously do you regard this as a, as a major communicable disease? Ah, extremely serious, ah, Jan, ah Ah that's so to speak the tip of the iceberg, ah We're doubling the number of cases yearly. Ah, tests are indicating a high number of HTLV positive
Some of whom will go on to develop in terms as a disease, there's really nothing like it the History of Medicine. You've been running this anonymous AIDS clinic here. How open are people toward coming in or is that a big problem getting people coming. We seem to have had very little trouble. There have been large numbers of people I don't have the figures, um. Available right now, but...ah... we have seen as many as 30, 40 people a day coming. And for the unknown in this testing. The Places, the gay and lesbian community service center of Orange County, which had been designated as the Orange County AIDS response program. The group meeting at the table is the AIDS Coalition made up of a number of county groups seeking to identify Orange County needs about
AIDS. Among those represented are the Red Cross, American Lung Association the Cancer Society, health care agencies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical corporations. Their purpose is to help at risk groups like hospital workers and food servers to get information, as well as to educate the general public. Judith Doyle is a licensed marriage and family therapist and she's also director of counseling at the Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center in Orange County. What are some of the facts and the fiction about this whole disease that relates to mental health? Well one fact is that there is a great deal of homophobia and paranoia about the a lot of worry created it's reasonable to be concerned about the disease because it is deadly. And at this time we don't have any cure for it, but to develop the paranoid attitudes that the manner in which they can catch the disease. And to continue to play that up and develop it is really a myth...
you're saying that people who may have the disease or even have...have been tested positive have to endure not only that anxiety, but the anxiety of being rejected or alienated from their peers? Exactly. Exactly. What are some of the typical cases you could tell us about? Typical cases are...ah...folks who have been diagnosed positive as far as the HTL D3 test, which only is a statement that their body has been infected with the virus, but not necessarily producing or replicating it and therefore demonstrating...uh...AIDS. They've merely been exposed to it. But the problems with that is that they experience rejection from family, experience of rejection from loved a significant other, experience work, if ever they disclose that for fear of the paranoia. You know based on the folks who don't understand how it is transmitted. And now let's meet our special guest today. Warner Kewn is the Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center in Garden Grove. He's a
former president of the Gay and Lesbian National Chamber of Commerce. Warner has been a gay activist for about 10 years and has been active in Orange County for 10 months. Edward McGee was an interior interior architect prior to a diagnosis of AIDS in August of 1985. Despite his ailment Edward continues to participate with a speakers bureau for AIDS service foundation. Edward is 33 years old and resides in Garden Grove. Pearl Jemison Smith is an RN epidemiologist at the UCI Medical Center. For the past eight years she's worked with infection control. Currently Pearl chairs the AIDS Coalition to identify Orange County needs action and she's also a member of the the AIDS response program, Blue Ribbon Panel. Dr. Carl Johnson M.D. is vice president of medical affairs at ICN pharmaceutical in Costa Mesa. Dr. Johnston is a former professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University and he's a past associate editor of The American Journal of Epidemiology. He's also past president of the American Society for Tropical Medicine.
I think I'd like first, after the experience we had in doing this research and I think that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge to be learned by the average person about this disease. I'd like to talk first about this...the phrase I've heard used several times this epidemic of fear or homophobia. And maybe you should respond for that first because you've been I suppose the recipient of some of that...irrational fear based on misinformation Will you talk about that a little bit? Yeah. That all for me started in the hospital actually several health care workers, obviously concerned about their own health, have become very fearful of dealing with AIDS patients in the hospital. And there are several precautions...uh...which make it safe for them to work with us. But some of us, some...some of them, really don't trust that knowledge. They don't trust the knowledge that we've all gained about how you do catch it and how it can't be caught and what to do about that. So...uh...there's also...uh...the
homophobia issue where some nurses don't want to deal with you just because you're gay and they know that you're identified that way and they don't want to be bothered with you. They would rather respond anyone else's call button than yours. And it becomes quite clear you know a person in isolation because of AIDS patients are always put in isolation, which is a room alone. And everyone who comes in has gloves and gowns head to toe and masks and you never see anyone's face. You never feel anyone's human touch. Do you feel it in your daily life, day to day life of of a stigma or something that's been attached where people avoid you without any good logical reason? Actually... this disease is being called the leprosy of the 80's and that's... That's a terrible name but
I guess that's a very it's a very good correlation because you know when when leukemia came, you know years ago no one knew how you got it. People were afraid to to be around people with cancer. So it's become the same sort of syndrome of...of well, "I don't want to be around that because I, you know, I... I'm still not sure how I can I can't get it." It's just a fear which hasn't been overcome by the information that we have gained. The information we can give today will be an antidote for a lot of that irrational fear. Right. You work every day with this. What would you like to say to people in general about your experience with with gay people who come in to you for help. Well. Actually I'd like to say is that we need to fight the fear with the facts, because the facts are out there the facts are available. There's a lot about this disease that we don't know. But there's also a lot that we do know. We know that this disease is not casually
transmitted, that you could only transmit it through the most intimate sexual contact or through blood products, for example. And so people need to inform themselves and this is gay and non-gay alike about the facts about the disease. The AIDS response program is currently undertaking a major media oriented campaign literature distribution, television PSAs, radio PSAs, that's highlighted to fight the fear with the facts and we're doing that with nine other Southern California contractors. That's what I would like to say. It's not just the concern of the gay and lesbian community. It's not just a concern of the hemophilia community or the intravenous drug using community. The whole community is impacted by AIDS, directly or indirectly. Yes, in Orange County ninety-two percent of the people with AIDS are gay and bisexual men. And we don't see AIDS moving as a disease outside of the defined risk groups. But for sexually active heterosexuals with multiple partners, with people...young people who are beginning to experiment with
,drugs beginning to experiment with I.V. drug use or any type of drugs... There's a very lethal risk for them isn't there? Well there is that potential and they should know...they should...they should respect their bodies, they should respect their health, be informed of how they can protect themselves. I'd like to hear you what you have to say as the epidemiologist that's one hat you have but certainly the other hat as the coalition chair. What is it you'd like to say to the people in Orange County about this from your experience on it? Well I think we are dealing with a very deadly disease. But I'm really proud of what Orange County has done so far I think that [Man] I think we're doing we're getting like we're getting as a and many of the community groups have become involved and uh there are several of them I could name including the AIDS Response Program, the AIDS Service Foundation UCI Medical Center, the Red Cross. Many nonprofit ,, the Lung Association began was the one that was the organization that started action and this coalition to identify the needs in Orange County has put on educational programs provides a speakers bureau that will go out and talk to people and
education is the most important thing that we can do educate physicians. Yes. The health care workers that care for individuals with AIDS, the high risk groups.[Man] All of these kind of books are available to people. [Woman] Oh absolutely. Can they get them at the gay and lesbian centers? Or are they going to have to fold it up like this so you can't see that we regularly have. All of this kind of literature is available. This is all available It's geared towards people. AIDS in the workplace, the Antibody testing for gay and bisexual men, for the general population. Here's one AIDS and health care workers. All about AIDS in here. Shooting up and your Health, Women and AIDS it's all available the information is there. You're obviously Orange County health care agency. You don't have to be an embarrassed to ask about it. I think some people may feel that they're embarrassed to ask about the disease. They don't have to be embarrassed like Pharisees. OK. I was impressed at the dedication I saw of your group of people very seriously like a task force in operation, what needs to be done and we've got to do more.
I can't, I can't wait to ask you this question too, because a lot of interesting things done research are happening in this county because it has some very interesting pharmaceutical research laboratories beside the university in the private sector. Would you talk about that doctor? Well, in addition to what the county is evidently doing in terms of concerned, informative, action as a society, itself, it's got and I think it's growingly got a significant stake in what may one day be real significant advances for the nation, both in university research and in pharmaceutical research. And I did it with a a blender. There's a very close blend there, was a there is a blend even over this disease and I think it's very important to to make a point between the federal government and all of our tax dollars and industry. About many other things people love to talk about the government and industry I think with respect to AIDS now there
is no question anymore but that the integration is really very good and productive. Someday I think well, I know someday we're going to be able to stop the progress of the virus infection in people already infected. [Man] That's my hope. [Doctor] I know we are. Some other day maybe we're going to be able to vaccinate people who are not yet infected. But until that day, it is education. It is above all I think retaining the perspective and the calm within our society so that we don't go off deep ends in any direction that is the crucial thing we have to do. This disease takes us back right now in terms of what we can do about it. To darn near every infectious disease a hundred years ago. [Interviewer] Smallpox, you could talk about smallpox. [Doctor] You name it Tuberculosis, whatever, bubonic plague. OK. (overlapping): [Man] Now there's a major- [Doctor] Societies didn't fold though under those ??? when they didn't have anything specific to cure did they? OK, let's us not. [Interviewer] I want to ask you in layman's language one of
the most promising areas what is really happening in research? [Doctor] I think that number one, the incredibly swift understanding of the basic biology of the molecular aspects of the virus has really been amazing [Interviewer] the HTL 3?-- [Doctor] It's been just a torrent of information. In a very tight period of time. Yeah. The attempt then will be to translate that into a vaccine how rapidly that will succeed, I don't want to predict. There are major problems but it's by no means a lost cause. At the same-- [Interviewer] It's encouraging. [Doctor] Yeah, it's encouraging, but we're not going to have a vaccine by '86. We're probably not going to have vaccine in 87. That is proven, and works, and is safe. OK, in the meantime what's happening in another kind of a river running faster and faster downstream is the fact that, out of laboratories both commercial and government are coming more and more compounds being screened for activity against the HDLB3? and they're being found. And we now are this year
to the point where we have two drugs that are in major clinical trials hundreds of patients will be tested with each of these drugs in 1986, and we shall see what we shall see. [Interviewer] And if they are approved what will those drugs do? If they are accepted in other words, if they work out, what is there promise? [Doctor] Their promise, I would say is to either arrest, the progress of clinical infection or maybe even to reverse it. it is very exciting, if it can be shown that you can understand that you don't get that answer in months it's going to take probably a couple of years. [Interviewer] But suppose with all of this acceleration of information you're talking about the promise to find it much sooner than we would have say 20 or 30 or 40 years ago because the techniques of an acceleration of information. [Doctor] No question about it. When I was a young scientist ?? I could never have happened like this. However I should say also that as a society we wouldn't have realized nearly so rapidly, each little minute what the hell was going on. [laughter]
[Man] We're actually very good, we're actually very lucky that this disease has come. And the late 70s and 80s rather than 20 or 30 years before because it's almost like a disease that's on the frontier of what we are able to do in terms of research. But I would like to make a little bit of a difference. From, we're not dealing with a bubonic plauge, and we're not dealing with TP or smallpox, we're not dealing with a disease that is casually transmitted. And while there are now some promising drugs that are being tested. We've seen that for several years and none has come through and there won't be a wonder drug, I mean we know that everybody agrees there won't be one wonder drug. And probably we won't have a vaccine until the 90s at the earliest. But what we do have is the opportunity to prevent the spread of this disease because we know exactly how it is transmitted and we know that we can avoid the exchange of intimate bodily fluids sexually. And we know we can avoid the exchange of blood products. We really can do that, and that's the hope right now. The hope is that in the next five years we can
we can educate people to say, hey, you have control over whether you get exposed to this virus or not. [Cooper] I'm picking up on that, Werner let me give some of the most common fictions and facts about this, and let's, let's take a look at them right now. One fiction and this is the fiction AIDS can be transmitted by kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or normal social contact with someone who has AIDS. The fact is AIDS is transmitted by homosexual or heterosexual contact, needle sharing among drug users or by blood from an AIDS patient. The fiction. The children who have AIDS or who have AIDS antibodies should not be allowed to attend school for fear of spreading AIDS. The fact, Casual contact with children or adults who are AIDS patients does not pose a risk for AIDS. No cases of AIDS through casual contact or through the air have been reported The fiction. There is nothing that can be done to prevent the spread of AIDS throughout the country. The fact. That AIDS can be prevented by providing it by
avoiding sexual intercourse with AIDS-risked person avoid promiscuous homosexual or heterosexual sex, never share an I.V. needle. Fiction. There is a risk of getting AIDS by donating blood or by receiving a blood transfusion. Wrong. The fact there is no risk in donating blood new needles are used for each donor. There is no risk in a blood transfusion. Now, all blood is first tested for AIDS and those are some of the most common more of the common fictions that are going around and I have heard those since I worked on this program with people who are otherwise well informed are abysmally informed about this disease. [Warner] It's unfortunate and some of our public officials such as Congressman Dan Meyer with just the terrible things he's passing around I mean unfortunately-- he's the exception. Fortunately most of our public officials aren't going on that but that's what we have to fight, we have to fight people like that passing these types of myths made up out of whole cloth.
[Cooper] As a person working on the firing line with your coalition, what is the biggest thing you'd like to say to the people of Orange County in the interest of what we're just talking about? Education. [Woman] You do not get AIDS from casual contact it is spread by sexual contact by intimate contact and the use of condoms, condoms have been found to be effective. And it can be spread by blood products that are not screened and we're now screening all of our blood, hemophiliacs are now safe since we're screening the blood products that they receive; and that babies that are born of mothers that are positive. That's another way that the disease is spread. But you don't get it by driving through Laguna Beach. You don't get it by sitting in a restaurant someplace where there are people that have the disease, or by touching someone that has the disease, you don't get it from toilet seats, you don't get a front door knobs. That is absolutely false. [Man] Or by moving into an apartment where an AIDS victim moved out. [Woman] Right. It is not airborne, and it's not spread by (inaudible) [Man] It's not an environ- mental disease at all.
[Cooper] With this platform of television, what's the biggest thing you'd like to shout to people, about the way someone who has AIDS, or AIDS-risk should be treated. [Man] I think that they should be treated with respect as a human being. Actually we are usually labeled as AIDS, when we actually we're, we're actually still people. We aren't AIDS. I have a case number somewhere in Atlanta with the CDC, but I am still a person, and that's one of the things that many people with AIDS object to, is being called a victim because I'm a person, I'm not a victim. You know I'm still a human being. I still do other things I don't just live AIDS. So. [Cooper] On the other side of the coin, are there a lot of people who do show compassion and kindness to you? [Man] There are, yes, there are, there are very many. I've been very lucky, personally. [Cooper] And your parents, I know your parents are here today. [Man] Yes, uh huh. [Cooper] And they're supportive? [Man] My family has been very supportive, my friends, uh the people in the church that I was in when I was diagnosed never
left me alone in the hospital for a minute, I was, I had great support. [Cooper] Doctor what's the big thing you like to say to some of them saying why don't why the hell don't those guys in the test tubes, find a cure in a hurry. What would you like to say about the status of the research. The condition of the research right now? [Doctor] Listen it's going faster than it ever has for any other problem before. And it will continue and we are going to win. And in the meantime, the information we have, yes, does permit us to intelligently limit further spread of this disease if we will only apply it, if we will in fact modify our behaviors. We know what to do, it's a question of will we do it. [Cooper] And that's a challenge that I think goes to everybody. I said I give three magic phone numbers because they're very important for anyone who wants to take the effort to get informed on this. The first important number for anyone to write down right now is the Orange County AIDS response program Gay and Lesbian community center.
That's 534-0862, 534-0862. Second important number, and this is very important if you understand this in the Orange County Health Care Agencies Special Diseases Clinic and these tests are not only free, they are confidential. No one knows, and they and they do not invade your confidentiality to get this free test. 834-3101. The third number, and this is the American Red Cross, about anything having to do with blood, getting a blood or receiving blood and they have all kinds of information there call it 835-5381. This is a challenge to all of us I appreciate your coming in especially your having the courage to come on here and talk to this. question. You doctor, and you too. Thank you very much. Our time is almost up now and I want to thank all of our guests for this important and informative discussion about AIDS. Please join me next week at the same time and I'll have political party leaders as my guest to talk about the upcoming joint election. I'm Jim Cooper thanks for being with us. Jim Cooper's Orange County is made possible by grants from the Harry and Gray steel
foundation providing charitable assistance to deserving organizations in the areas of health, education, and culture by Disneyland Park celebrating 30 years in Orange County by Signal Landmark Incorporated, developer of Southern California real estate and builder of Landmark homes and by Robert Half and Account Temps providing permanent and temporary accounting and computer personnel with offices in Newport Beach and throughout Southern California.
Jim Cooper's Orange County
AIDS Facts and Fiction
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PBS SoCal (Costa Mesa, California)
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Episode Description
Jim Cooper discusses the AIDS crisis and looks at what research being conducted in Orange County.
Series Description
Jim Cooper's Orange County is a talk show featuring conversations about local politics and public affairs.
Talk Show
Social Issues
Public Affairs
Copyright 1986
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Director: Ratner, Harry
Guest: Johnson, Karl
Guest: Kuhn, Werner
Guest: McGee, Edward
Guest: Jemison-Smith, Pearl
Host: Cooper, Jim
Interviewee: Thorsen, Richard
Interviewee: Doyle, Judith
Producer: Miskevich, Ed
Producing Organization: PBS SoCaL
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: AACIP_0092 (AACIP 2011 Label #)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:30:00
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Chicago: “Jim Cooper's Orange County; AIDS Facts and Fiction,” PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “Jim Cooper's Orange County; AIDS Facts and Fiction.” PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Jim Cooper's Orange County; AIDS Facts and Fiction. Boston, MA: PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from