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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 by signal a landmark incorporated developer of Southern California real estate and builder of Landmark homes and by Robert Half an account temps providing permanent and temporary accounting and computer personnel with offices in Newport Beach and throughout Southern California. There's been 18000 cases of AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome confirmed in the United States since the disease was first diagnosed in 1901. Of these 90 300 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 the 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 500000 to 1 million U.S. citizens have tested positive to the HTL B3 AIDS antibody that's the test for AIDS. That does not mean that they have AIDS. The presence of the three aids antibodies in the blood only means that they've been exposed to AIDS. However 10 to 20 percent of all part of the 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. Shu here group a professor of microbiology and molecular biology at UC Irvine. A disease impairs the body's immune system by destroying blood cells which fight infections. Here Dr. Leidy ruly a staff immunologist is testing blood from AIDS patients
among a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes or B cells and T cells that produce the antibodies that fight the disease. AIDS reduces those out 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. Will it then take 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 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 twenty six hundred of these free blood tests were given here about 17 percent or four hundred forty people had positive blood tests. Dr. Richard Norton the medical director of the special diseases the next 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 major communicable disease. Oh extremely serious Jan.. Oh that's so to speak the tip of the iceberg. Were doubling the number of cases yearly. Tests are indicating a high number of. H.T. all the positive people.
Some of well go on to develop in terms of seriousness as it is there's really nothing like it in History of Medicine. You've been running this anonymous AIDS clinic here. How open are people toward coming here or is that a big problem getting people. We seem to have had very little trouble. There have been large numbers of people I don't have figures. Available right now but 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 the American Lung Association Cancer Society health care agency 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. Dial is a licensed marriage and family therapist and she's also director of counseling at the gay and lesbian community service center in Warren County. What are some of the facts and the fiction about this whole disease that relates to mental health. Well one thing is a great deal of homophobe paranoia about the disease. And 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 to develop paranoid attitudes that the manner in which they can catch the disease. And to continue to play that up and develop that is really a myth in the years that
you're saying that people who may have the disease or even to have been tested are going to have to endure not only that anxiety but the anxiety of being rejected or alienated from their peers. Exactly. What are some of the typical cases you could tell us about typical cases are 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 a replicating it and therefore demonstrating they've nearly been exposed to it. But the problems with that is that they experience rejection from family experience of rejection from loved ones as a significant other. Experience rejection at work if ever they disclose that for fear of the parent. You know based on the folks who don't understand how it is transmitted. Now let's meet our special guest today. Warner cueing is the executive director of the gay and lesbian community service center in Garden Grove. He's a
former president of the game lesbian the National Chamber of Commerce One and 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 1995. Despite his ailment Edward continues to participate with a speakers bureau for AIDS service foundation. Edgar is 33 years old and resides in Garden Grove. Colonel Jenison Smith is an epidemiologist at the UCLA 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 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 to. Talk 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 phrase I've heard you several times this epidemic of fear or homophobia. And maybe you should respond for that first because you've been I suppose the reception of some of that. Your irrational fear based on misinformation and we'll 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. Which make it safe for them to work with us. But some of us some of them really don't trust that knowledge they don't trust the knowledge that well again about. How you do catch it and how it can't be caught and what to do about that. So there's also the
homophobia issue where 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 to to anyone else's call button than yours. And it becomes quite clear you know as as a person in isolation because AIDS patients are always put in isolation which is the room alone. And everyone who comes in has gloves and downs head to toe and masks and you never see anyone's face. You never feel anyone's human touch you feel or in your daily life day to the life of the stigma or something that's been attached when people avoid you without any good logical reason actually. This disease is being called the leprosy of the 80s and that's saturable name but
I guess that's a very it's a very good correlation because you know when leukemia came you know years ago no one knew how you got it. People were afraid to to be around here with cancer. So it's become the same sort of syndrome of well I don't want to be around that because I you know I I'm still not sure how I can that I can get it. It's just a fear which haven't been overcome by the information that we have gained of 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 transmitted through the most intimate sexual contact 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 PSA as radio PSA 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. He's 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 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 wish. We should respect their health be informed of how they can protect themselves. I'd like to hear you what you have to say in the panini are just that's one hat you have but certainly the other hat as the coalition chair what is it you like to say to people in one county about this from your experience. Well I think we are dealing with a very deadly disease. But I'm really proud with what our Inge County has done so far I think that I think we're doing we're getting like we're getting as a community here on it. Many of the community groups have become involved. And 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 run the sorcery along 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 there for individuals with my risk kind of books are available to people. Oh absolutely get a math again lesbian centers are going to have to fold it up like that we regularly literature that was all available. It's geared towards people in the workplace the kind of body testing for gay and bisexual men for the general population. Here's one page on health care workers here on YOUR HEALTH. Women and it's all available the information is there. You're obviously going to health care and you don't have to be an Barras to ask about I think some people may feel that they're embarrassed to ask about the disease they don't have to be an Pharisee.
OK I was impressed at the dedication I saw of your group of people very seriously like a task force in operation what need to be done and week we've got to do more. I can't. I can't wait to ask you this question do we got a lot of interesting things done research are happening in this county because it has a very interesting pharmaceutical research laboratories beside university in the private sector. When you talk about that doctor. Well in addition to what the county is evidently doing in terms of. Concerned informative actually as a society itself it's got and I think it's growing they 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 closed plant there was a there is a blender 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. That's my hope and I know we are some other day maybe we're going to be able to vaccinate people who are not you know. But until that day it is education. It is above all I think retaining the perspective and the carbon within our society so that we don't go off the pens 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 smallpox you could talk you name it back when I was a regular osis whatever Bonnett plague. OK now there's a major societies didn't
fold though under those nurturers when they didn't have anything specific to cure did they know that because let's just not be I want to ask you in layman's language one of the most promising areas what is really happening in research. I think that number one the incredibly swift understanding of the basic biology of the molecular aspects of the virus has really been amazing three there and it's been just a torrent of information very tight period there. 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 center of being 50 I think you're going to merging but we're not going to have vaccine in 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 these three 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. And if they are approved what will do well when they are accepted not sure that they work out one of their promises their promise. I would say is to either arrest. The progress of clinical infection or maybe even to reverse 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. But I want to but I should hold with all this acceleration of information you're talking about promising 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 no question of very I was
a young scientist where 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. 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. We're not dealing with a robotic play and we're not dealing with smallpox we're not dealing with a disease that is casually transmitted. And while there are not 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. We know we can avoid the exchange of blood products but 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 having it and picking up on that. Werner let me give some of the most common sections 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 section children who have AIDS or who have AIDS antibodies should not be allowed to attend school for fear of spreading AIDS. The fact that. Casual contact with children or adults who are AIDS patients is not pose a risk for AIDS. No cases of AIDS through casual contact or through the air have been reported
defection. 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 a depressed 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 sections 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. It's unfortunate and some of our public officials such as Congressman Diana Meyer with just the lust for 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. As a person working on a firing line with your coalition one of the biggest thing you'd like to see are the people of Orange County in the interest of what we're just talking about. Education 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 but I don't I have not you don't get it from toilet seats you don't get a front door knobs. That is absolutely forced or by moving into an apartment or an AIDS victim of
Dr. Ayers it is not airborne and it's not spread by is not an higher mental disease at all. With this platform of television what you like to sell to people. About the way someone who had the need to repeat risk should be treated. I think that they should be treated with respect as a human being. Actually we are usually labeled as a 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 on the other side of the coin of the lot of people who do show compassion and kindness to you. Yes there are there are very many very many. I've been very lucky personally and I know your parents are
here today. Yes they are supporting my family have been very supportive my friends the people in the church that I was in when I was diagnosed never left me alone in the hospital for a minute when I was had great support. Doctor what's the big thing you like to say to some of them saying why don't why the hell don't those died in the test tubes to find find a cure and what would you like to say about the status of the research. The condition of the research 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. And that's a challenge that I think goes 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 warning from the AIDS response program gay and lesbian community center. That's 5 3 4 0 8 6 2 5 3 4 0 8 6 2. 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 and get this free love test. 3 4 3 1 0 1. 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 3 5 5 3 8 1 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 your doctor and 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 herion 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 a landmark incorporated developer of Southern California real estate and builder of Landmark homes and by Robert Half an 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 June 10, 2023,
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. June 10, 2023. <>.
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