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Living With Hiv/Aids Essay

2142 words - 9 pages

HIV and AIDS are pandemics here in the United States and spread across the world. The disease originated in the 1800's in Western Africa came from a specific kind of chimpanzee. The infected chimpanzee was once hunted and ingested by the people in the area. Since the 1981, approximately 619,000 Americans alone have passed away due to this disease (What is HIV/AIDS?). Also, in addition to the 1.1 million living with the disease already, about 56,000 Americans are infected each year (Going the Distance 6). According to AIDS.gov, “1 in 5 living with HIV are unaware of their infection.” This is something people hear about on semi-regular basis, especially in the medical field. There's a lot about this people do not know though. Rapidly developing as a serious pandemic one should know what the two are, how they are contracted, and the symptoms, treatment, and prevention methods.
Although very similar, when referring to HIV and AIDS they are not the exact same. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This is a virus that can only affect humans and targets the immune system. The immune system is responsible for fighting off disease and infection. In most cases the immune systems cells can combat with viruses such as the flu. However, research has yet to uncover the reason this is not true with HIV. A virus reproduces by taking over a cell, that is exactly what HIV does. HIV attacks and invades the T-cells and CD4 cells, cells vital to the immune system, using them to multiply itself and then destroy the host cell. What differs HIV from AIDS is once HIV destroys many of the CD4 cells the infection progresses to a point of no return, AIDS. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms and signs of a disease. AIDS is a syndrome because of it's complexity and the wide range of complications and symptoms. However this particular syndrome is not inherited, it is something you acquire throughout your life by coming in contact with someone else who is infected. AIDS causes your immune system to be very deficient, practically shut down, and not work the way it is supposed to. After the diagnosis of having AIDS, people must seek medical intervention due to the risk of opportunistic infections. (What is HIV/AIDS?; Farnan) Although HIV and AIDS are related, AIDS diagnosed once HIV has reached the final stage. Awareness of how HIV and AIDS can be contracted is very important.
In order to understand this disease research has been to figure out how the disease is transmitted between human beings. HIV is found in specific bodily fluids. When those bodily fluids enter the body, that person is then at a higher risk of becoming infected. The most common places HIV can be found is in blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, breast milk, and vaginal fluids. Health care workers are especially vulnerable to exposure through contact with amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and synovial fluid, fluids with very high HIV...

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