Aids Epidemic Essay

1624 words - 7 pages

30 Years and Still Going Strong: The AIDS Epidemic
October 6, 2012

Every 9.5 minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV. One out of five people don’t even know they been infected. The lives of millions of people have been affected by either AIDS or HIV; either they know someone that has it, or they are living with the disease themselves. AIDS is a worldwide issue that is still relevant to this day. With no viable cure, AIDS is as much of an epidemic in 2012 as it was in the early 80s, the public needs to become more aware and take proper preventative measures to protect themselves and others.
June 5, 1981, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported of ...view middle of the document...

There were numerous theories on how HIV came into existence. Scientists now believe that HIV came from a particular kind of chimpanzee over in Western Africa. They believe people came in contact with the virus when the animals that had been infected where hunted and eaten. Scientists are also stating that HIV goes as far back as the 1800s. When HIV is diagnosed in the early stages, the use of preventative drugs will help in slowing the progression at which the virus will reproduce. This would help aid in the delay of the virus turning into AIDS. Some of the common symptoms that occur in HIV patients include fever, chills, joint or muscle pain, enlarged glands, weight loss, red rashes on parts of the body, and a sore throat.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the result of the HIV virus progressing. Boskey (2012) stated that “AIDS is a group of symptoms and diseases associated with the damage HIV does to the immune system.” AIDS is a disease, whereas HIV is a virus. Just as with HIV, AIDS attacks the immune system. With the immune system attacked by AIDS, the body is now vulnerable and subject to numerous life threatening infections and cancers. The most common of bacteria and virus that would not be serious in a person that has a normal and healthy immune system can become a fatal illness in a person that has AIDS. AIDS and HIV share the same common symptoms such as fever, chills, rashes, and weight loss.
There are several different ways a person can be infected with HIV. Most common is by sexual contact. Sexual contact with another person includes oral, vaginal, and anal. Other ways of contact is by the sharing of needles by other persons infected, a pregnant mother to her unborn child, and by blood transfusions. In the United States, blood is now tested for the virus before it is used in transfusions, so it is now rare for a person to contact the disease through blood transfusions.
Partaking in risky behaviors put both men and women at the forefront of exposing themselves to AIDS/HIV. AIDS/HIV does not know race, gender or sexual preference. Preventative measures need to be made to reduce the risk of contracting this illness. Safe sex, such as using condoms when having intercourse will help in aiding in the reduction of AIDS/HIV. Helping in aiding in the spread of this illness is regular testing. Knowing your status is the first step in the prevention of AIDS/HIV. One person out of every five is unaware of their status. Persons should be tested for AIDS/HIV at least once every year. Some healthcare professionals suggest testing every three to six months depending on behaviors a person engages in. There are three options used for testing. Antibody Tests is the most common of the testing. With the Antibody test, rather than looking for HIV in the body, it checks the HIV antibodies. Antibody tests include Enzyme Immunoassay and Rapid HIV testing. Testing for both of these tests would require either the use of blood, urine, or oral...

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