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The 1980's
The Discovery of AIDS



The Discovery of AIDS
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    epidemic, pneumonia, transfusion, syndrome, discovery, virus, knowing, polio, fairly, likely, affects, powerful, perhaps, cure, longer, often
     content words:    Ryan White


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The Discovery of AIDS
By Jane Runyon
  

1     On June 5, 1981, scientists made a terrible discovery. They discovered the cause of a disease that was killing people by the thousands. The disease is called AIDS. That stands for "acquired immune deficiency syndrome." AIDS makes people very sick. It is caused by a virus. Your body is made of millions and billions of cells. Your body is able to fight off most diseases because some of these cells are very special. They are called T-cells. Could that be because they are so tough?
 
2     The virus that causes AIDS also has a special name. It is called HIV. It is such a powerful virus that it can destroy the T-cells. If the T-cells are destroyed, a person's body is no longer able to fight off diseases such as pneumonia. Eventually, diseases are able to take over the body and the person can die.
 
3     The HIV virus is not a virus like the ones that cause colds and flu. Those viruses are hard to avoid because they are in the air all the time. All people need to do is come in contact with the virus and they will get sick. The HIV virus is not that easy to spread. Fluids between two people must be shared before the HIV virus can be passed on. That's why drug addicts who share needles can give the virus to each other.

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