Negative Impacts Of Hiv Essay

2041 words - 9 pages

The world is constantly fighting against diseases. More than 21 million people have already died due to AIDS throughout the duration of the pandemic (Kanabus et al., 2012). In 2001, three million people died from AIDS, making it the world’s 4th largest cause of death after heart disease, stroke, and acute lower respiratory infection (Inrig, 2012). The most severely impacted continent in the world is Africa with over %70 of the world’s 40 million people living with HIV or AIDS (Dixon et al., 2002). It has become the leading cause of death among Africans of all ages, according to UNAIDS (Elliot and Stein, 2011). Proven by these alarming statistics, the effects of this disease is becoming more evident in society as the epidemic continues. This paper will provide a strong argument and analysis as to how HIV/AIDS negatively impacts the education sector and economy of a country like Africa and how this infection will continue to impact the future.
To begin with, what is HIV and how does having this disease affect the human body? The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that is constantly mutating until it gradually destroys the T-cells that protect the body against infections (Beck-Sagué and Beck 2004). When HIV enters the bloodstream, it infects certain white blood cells called T helper cells and macrophages which provide essential functions in the immune system (together called CD4 cells) (Armstrong, 1990). The immune system produces millions of CD4 cells every day (Armstrong, 1990). HIV attaches to proteins called CD4 receptors on the surface of the cells and once attached, HIV enters the cells and inserts its own genes into the cell’s reproductive system (Armstrong, 1990). These genes allow more HIV to be manufactured (Armstrong, 1990). The infected cell then makes thousands of copies of HIV which are released to infect other CD4 cells throughout the body (Armstrong, 1990). Now how are these copies of the virus made? Instead of DNA being copied into RNA (normal process of transcription), RNA is copied into DNA. RNA contains the genetic instructions needed to make more of the virus. Reverse transcriptase, a protein specific only to the HIV virus carries out reverse transcription. However, reverse transcriptase is not very good at its job because infact, it makes lots of mistakes when copying genetic instructions. These mistakes result in mutations that provide a variety of different viruses (The Evolving Genetics of HIV | Understanding Genetics, 2013). Because of this, it may be very tough to find a cure or effective drugs to treat HIV (discussed further in paragraph 8). HIV can destroy CD4 cells as fast as they are produced by the immune system allowing the body to be vulnerable to other infections and conditions, because the HIV has disabled the human body’s most important defense against diseases: the immune system (Overall and Zion, 1991). The final stage of infection with HIV is called AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)...

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