Over 33 million people around the world have AIDS (“Global Statistics.”). The disease, caused by the virus HIV, attacks the immune system, which is meant to protect your body from illness. Currently, there is no cure for AIDS, and 25 million have lost their lives due to it. AIDS is a serious issue affecting many people around the world today as they struggle with the disease, research for medicines, and attempt to reduce new infections
Many people with AIDS do not show symptoms for a long time, even for over ten years. The cause, HIV, is an STD. Human immunodeficiency virus attacks the T-cells, part of the immune system, and uses it to duplicate itself and spread. When the number of immune cells in one cubic milliliter of blood is less than 200, the infection is referred to as AIDS. The amount of time it takes for the cell count to fall so low varies from person to person, sometimes because of certain drugs or because the immune system is naturally less resistant to the disease (“Learn about HIV/AIDS.”).
AIDS can cause a lot of different complications in the body. Some common signs include dry skin, fatigue, fevers, symptoms of infection like coughing or headaches, and weight loss. OIS, or opportunistic infections, occur when the body gets ill from something else because of a weak immune system. Pneumonia, fungal infections, and cancers also appear more in those with AIDS. People infected with HIV but not yet diagnosed with AIDS can also suffer from symptoms. Because any symptoms could be a result of weak immune cells or just a regular infection, there is no way to know for sure if someone has AIDS without a blood test (“Learn about HIV/AIDS.”).
The disease was first reported in the 80’s, the epidemic beginning in 1985. A large number of people were diagnosed with rare types of cancer and pneumonia in New York and California and it was widespread in Uganda. In the early days, no one knew much about the disease or how someone got infected, causing a lot of fear and discrimination against people with AIDS. It was discovered that HIV caused AIDS in 1984, with traces as long ago as the 40’s. It’s believed that the virus was given to humans when hunters in Africa ate some infected chimpanzees. The first blood test for AIDS came in 1985, and in 1986, a cancer drug called AZT was proven to help fight...