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Hiv And The Condition Of Aids

1559 words - 6 pages

Introduction
HIV has been a major global issue for over 100 years. It is estimated that 1.6 million people died as a result of this virus in 2012 (“Fact sheet”, 2012). Due to statistics such as the one I just cited, I decided to write this review essay on HIV and the condition of AIDS. As an up and coming scientist, I feel it is imperative that we strive to grow in our understanding of diseases, such as AIDS, so that we can do our part in slowing its spread; also, so that more individuals may be inspired to devote their life’s work to producing a cure. In this review we will be going over some of the basics of HIV and AIDS, such as, basic definitions and information, symptoms, how it is contracted, how it works, treatments and the virus’s geological prevalence.
Basic definitions and information
HIV is an acronym for “human immunodeficiency virus”. The term AIDS is an acronym for “acquired immune deficiency syndrome”. Think of HIV as the bug that causes the disease and think of AIDS as a term that describes the manifestation or set of symptoms that result from being infected. Contrary to popular belief, AIDS is not generally the direct cause of someone’s death; rather, AIDS indirectly causes death by leaving the body defenseless against other diseases such as cancer and hepatitis (Oppenheim, 2009). We can assume that anyone who died from AIDS very likely had another underlying disease or condition. Another acronym that will be used in this review is CD4. CD4 is a glycoprotein vital to the proper function of certain immune cells. CD4 counts are used to measure the stages of AIDS; normal CD4 levels range from 500-1000, anything lower than this is considered alarming (“CD4 Count”, 2010).
Symptoms
Here is a brief look at the symptoms caused by HIV. From the research I have done by examining the work of other scientists, fatigue is the number one symptom of HIV. In a study done at Johns Hopkins University, a group of doctors surveyed the symptoms of samples of HIV-positive individuals with varying degrees of CD4 levels. Of the three samples, the median proportion of individuals who felt fatigued was .82, which is large relative to some of the other symptoms (Wu A. W. et al, 1997). Additional symptoms of people diagnosed with HIV, include: diarrhea, anxiety, sadness, and difficulty sleeping (Portillo et al, 2007).

Means of Contraction
The ways in which HIV can be contracted or transferred is a key topic. One of the commonly proposed options for slowing the spread of HIV is preventative measures. The first step in taking preventative measures is having an understanding of how a disease is passed on from one individual to another. Due to the fact that the virus, on its own, can’t survive in an open-air environment, HIV is always transmitted through contact with some sort of body fluid. The major body fluids that are known to be related to the transmission of HIV are: “blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk” (“HIV prevention”...

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