A. I. D. S Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome A. I. D.
S. , also known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is a disorder of the body’s immune system. In A. I. D. S.
the body stops producing some of its important natural defenses against disease. Victims often die from disease of infections they cannot fight. A. I. D. S is the result of an infection known as HIV, human immunodeficiency virus.
A person with HIV gradually loses function of their immune system, becoming less able to fight off common colds and virus, thus eventually leading to death. HIV was first revealed in the early 80’s in homosexual men. Infection with HIV does not necessarily mean that a person does have A. I. D. S.
A person can be HIV positive for years without developing illnesses that are associated with the A. I. D. S. disease. HIV is characterized by a gradual deterioration of the immune system.
Cells known as T-Helper cells are disabled and killed during the course of the infection. These cells play an important part in the human body because they signal other cells to perform their special functions. The AIDS epidemic is growing very rapidly among minority populations and is a leading killer of African American males. HIV can be transmitted by contact with infected blood, most often by the sharing of drug needles or syringes contaminated with blood containing the virus.
The risk of contacting the HIV virus from blood transfusions has decreased since earlier years. Now all donated blood is screened for any signs of the HIV virus. HIV is spread most commonly by having sex with someone who already has the virus. The virus can enter the human body through the lining of the vagina, vulva, penis, rectum, or mouth during sex. Almost all HIV infected children get the HIV virus from their mothers before or during birth. A drug known as AZT can reduce risk of transmission of the virus from mother to child.
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The virus can also be transmitted when an HIV infected mother nurses her child with infected milk. Once HIV enters the body it infects many cell and replicates itself rapidly. Two to four weeks after the person is infected with the virus, they begin to suffer flu-like symptoms. HIV also is spread through contact with infected blood. Before blood was screened for evidence of HIV infection and before heat-treating techniques to destroy HIV in blood products were introduced, HIV was transmitted through transfusions of contaminated blood.
Laboratory studies reveal that saliva has natural properties that limit the power of HIV to infect. Research studies of people infected with HIV have found no evidence that the virus is spread to others through saliva such as by kissing. Scientists also have found no evidence that HIV is spread through sweat, tears, urine, or feces. Studies of families of HIV-infected people have shown clearly that HIV is not spread through casual contact such as the sharing of food utensils, swimming pools, telephones, or toilet seats. HIV is not spread by biting insects such as mosquitoes or bedbugs.
Having a sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis, genital herpes, , gonorrhea, or bacterial appears to make people more susceptible to acquiring HIV infection during sex with infected partners. As the immune system deteriorates, a variety of complications start to take over. Some symptoms that take place are: lack of energy, weight loss, frequent fevers and sweats, persistent or frequent yeast infections, persistent skin rashes and flaky skin, and short term memory loss. People with AIDS are particularly prone to developing various cancers. These cancers are usually more aggressive and difficult to treat in people with AIDS. One such cancer is known as Kaposi’s sarcoma.
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Many people are so weakened by the symptom of AIDS that they cannot hold steady employment or do household chores. Other people with AIDS may experience phases of intense life-threatening illness followed by phases in which they function normally. People exposed to the virus should get an HIV test as soon as they are likely to develop antibodies to the virus. By getting tested early, they can get the right treatment ata time when their immune systems are most able to fight HIV and thus prevent the certain opportunistic infections from spreading through the body rapidly. Early testing also alerts HIV infected people to avoid high-risk behaviors that could spread the virus to others. Doctors diagnose HIV infection by using two different types of antibody tests, ELISA and Western Blot.
Because no vaccine for HIV is available, the only way to prevent infection by the virus is to avoid behaviors that put a person at risk of infection, such as sharing needles and having unprotected sex. People should either abstain from having sex or use latex condoms, which may offer partial protection, during oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Only condoms made of latex should be used, and water-based lubricants should be used with latex condoms. Because there is as yet no successful vaccination against HIV, prevention efforts have focused mainly on educating the public about routes of HIV transmission and about personal measures that reduce the risk of infection.
the national aids clearinghouse, a hotline to spread educational literature and current statistics on aids has been established. Safe-sex campaigns encourage sexual abstinence or monogamy and the use a latex condoms to provide a protective barrier during sexual intercourse. Needle-exchange programs have been implemented to reduce needle sharing and consequent HIV transmission among drug abusers. The US government has the strict guidelines for health-care settings, including use of protective clothing and proper instrument disposal, to decrease the risk of transmission to both the patient and the health care provider. Onthe national scale, screening of the blood supply has greatly reduced the risk of contracting HIV from blood products.
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However, with the exception of blood screening, these prevention programs have had only limited success. Discrimination against persons living with HIV/ AIDS remains a primary concern in the United States. Efforts to reduce discrimination must remain a priority, because people are still losing their jobs, are refused medical care, housing, and child care for their children. Many people in the world are not aware of the ways people get AIDS. They are mostly afraid of acquiring the disease themselves, they fear death and thus fear those who are dying. They think that if they touch or stand near some one who is infected with HIV or AIDS, they will get the disease.
AIDS is not contagious, this is what most people fail to understand. They think that it is spread like the common cold. Persons with HIV infection have been terminated from their jobs, denied access to social services, or denied medical treatment solely because of their handicap. Individuals have been similarly treated because they have been perceived as having HIV infection.
Such actions by an agency, institution, hospital, nursing home, drug treatment center, clinic, organization or other entity receiving Federal funds may constitute unlawful discrimination under Section 504. Section 504 protects qualified persons with HIV infection. The Americans with Disability Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, including those with HIV. Employees who disclose their HIV infection to their bosses still face discrimination after all of the progress made with the disease. AIDS discrimination occurs in every workplace imaginable. There are even stories that employers tell the HIV-infected individual to leave and not touch the typewriters on the way out.
Some employers have been found to exclude or limit HIV-infected individuals from health insurance policies. But a few other companies are permitting their employees with AIDS to work part-time or from home if they can no longer come to the office. People claim that testing positive does not necessarily mean a person will contract AIDS. Furthermore, they say virus carriers and even people with AIDS pose no threat in the workplace. I think that AIDS is a disease that must be stopped immediately. More and more people are dying from this disease everyday.
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Pretty soon it’s going to become a common everyday problem. People must be educated about AIDS and learn about preventing it from happening to them. I understand that some people can’t help contracting AIDS, due to circumstances such as contaminated blood, but mistakes like this should not be happening. AIDS is like an accident because of things like one night stands and drugs. People don’t mean to catch AIDS through drugs or one night stands but they do, it ” something that just happens, an accident. In conclusion, AIDS is a worldwide epidemic that is taking over most of the world.
We must learn from the statistics and information we read on how to prevent further spread of the disease. In this way, we ensure a safer society for the future children to live in. Hopefully, scientists will find a cure for AIDS in the near future. Until that time comes we must do our part and practice abstinence.