Hiv And Aids: The Epidemic Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

HIV and AIDS have affected millions of people throughout the world. Since 1981, there have been 25 million deaths due to AIDS involving men, women, and children. Presently there are 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS around the world and two million die each year from AIDS related illnesses. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one-third of the one million Americans living with HIV are not aware that they have it. The earliest known case of HIV was in 1959. It was discovered in a blood sample from a man in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Looking further into the genetics of this blood sample researchers suggested that it had originated from a virus going back to the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. In 1999, researchers had discovered that HIV is derived from chimpanzees native to west equatorial Africa. This epidemic is spreading throughout countries and infecting 14 thousand victims every day. Learning about HIV includes knowing how to contract the virus, understanding most of the people it affects, how to prevent the spread of it, and knowing what treatments are available.
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a progressive disease that attacks and weakens the immune system causing the HIV-positive person to become more susceptible to any ailments and infections. Human Immunodeficiency Virus is caused by the transfer of bodily functions including blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions. Sex, including oral, vaginal, and anal, is the most common way of obtaining HIV. It can also be acquired by injecting a needle into your body that was used by someone who has HIV. The virus cannot be spread through the air or though food and water. You also cannot contract the virus from shaking a HIV-positive person's hand, using a restroom, dry kissing, or donating blood. This virus is divided into four stages. Primary HIV infection is the first stage and only lasts for a few weeks. Flu-like illnesses may be present during this stage. The second stage is known as clinically asymptomatic stage and typically lasts for an average of ten years. Although major symptoms might not exist during this stage, the HIV-positive person may experience swollen glands. Symptomatic HIV infection is the third stage. As the immune system continues to fail, symptoms surface and become miniscule at first then later leading to more prevalent symptoms. This third stage is generally caused by illnesses, involving cancers and infections, which the immune system would normally fight off but is not able to because the immune system is too weak. Finally, AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, develops and is the final stage of HIV. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when they show the symptom called an opportunistic infection. This is when infections take advantage of the weakened immune system. HIV leads into life threatening AIDS and causes the infected individual to feel escalating amounts of pain such as neurotic pain, tremendous headaches,...

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