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The Rising Of Hiv/Aids In The United States Population

1234 words - 5 pages

In 1991, the world learned that one of the most iconic players in the history of basketball had tested positive for HIV (Johnson). Earvin “Magic” Johnson stood with his wife by his side and announced to the world that he had contracted this disease as a result of having unprotected sex. Johnson stated that he contracted disease from having unprotected sex and because of this, he now has to live with a disease that has changed his entire life (Johnson). During this time, many people were uneducated about the disease and some were afraid to be in contact with anyone carrying the virus. Even a few of his fellow players protested against him playing, because they were afraid they would contract it.
Many people thought that the disease only existed in people who lived a homosexual lifestyle; however many people can contract the disease by sharing needles for habitual drug use or receiving blood transfusions. Twenty-two years later, this disease has taken the world by storm. HIV/AIDS is steadily rising in the United States population because people are having unprotected sex, sharing needles, and are not getting tested.
AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is the final stage of HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In HIV the virus attacks CD4 positive T cells (“HIV Infection”). These T cells are very important to maintaining the function of the immune system and when attacked the person is less capable of fighting off diseases. Then it turns into AIDS because the person’s immune system is officially weakened (“HIV Infection”).
Max Essex discovered that HIV/AIDS originated in monkeys from Africa (Weeks & Alcamo 14). “Essex’s research resulted in recovery of a virus called the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) from African green monkeys” (Weeks & Alcamo 14). The virus was very similar to the biological basis of HIV (Weeks & Alcamo 14). Many researchers thought that SIV could have crossed the barrier between monkeys and humans, by a scratch or a bite (Weeks & Alcamo 14). According to Beatrice Hahn, a researcher, and her group, discovered that “the ‘original’ HIV’ came from “one particular subspecies” (Weeks & Alcamo 15). Scientists looked at three strains of SIV from the “chimpanzee Pan troglodytes troglodytes “ (Weeks & Alcamo 15). All three strains were 70 to 90 percent identical to HIV; and the chimpanzees lived in West Africa, which is where the AIDS epidemic was for the longest (Weeks & Alcamo 15).
However as years went on, AIDS eventually made its way to the United States. One of the most common ways HIV/AIDS can be transmitted is through sexual intercourse. Behavior such as unprotected sex gives people a higher risk of contracting the virus (Donatelle 433). When people have unprotected sex their genitals are more susceptible of contracting infections, especially women (Donatelle 433). Also African American women are 25 times more likely to contract HIV than any other race (Robles & Stringer 1). “During intercourse a...

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