Human T cell (blue) under attack by HIV (yellow) (Source: NIH)

In the midst of what has been dubbed “ebolanoia,” many are flashing back to the response (or lack thereof in some cases) to the rise of AIDS in the 1980s and 90s. In a recent post on Absolutely Maybe, Hilda Bastian describes the rise and fall of the panic surrounding HIV/AIDS in Australia. It provides needed perspective on the varied reactions people have to diseases they don’t fully understand. But ebolanoia has taken on a life of its own in the mass media and psyches of people in the United States: everything from crippling fear despite never having come within 1,000 miles of the virus, to “sexy ebola nurse” Halloween costumes (that I sincerely hope are just a photoshopped internet joke).