Examples Of Aids Essays

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HIV and AIDS are one of the leading causes of death among 24 to 45 year olds and yet so many Americans seem to know nothing about it. So many people in the world believe HIV and AIDS are the same thing, but they are sadly mistaken. HIV is a virus. The letters stand for Human Immunodefiency Virus. HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system. What it attacks are important immune-system cells called T-cells.

HIV is a retrovirus, which means it is slow moving. By attacking and killing the immune systems T-cells, HIV can cause AIDS. Although, HIV may move more rapidly in some people, on the average it takes ten years for HIV to cause AIDS, even with out treatment. (HIV Positive) AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. One does not have AIDS until their T-cell count drops below two hundred cells per cubic millimeter of blood, or if one begins to suffer from opportunistic infections. These include Pneumocystic Carnii Pneumonia (PCP), Kaposis sarcoma (a kind of skin cancer), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Candida (a fungal infection that can be found in the throat, mouth or vagina).

So, just because a person is diagnosed HIV positive that does not mean they have AIDS, it just means the virus is in their body. AIDS does not come until the virus has beaten the T-cells. Therefore, the whole purpose of HIV treatment is to protect T-cells, and keep the HIV from turning into AIDS. There has been a broad spectrum of theories associated with the origin of HIV.

HIV has been blamed on everything from The White Man, to the polio vaccine, to the CIA. (HIV Positive) The truth is HIV has been spread to humans from monkeys. The same virus as HIV found in monkeys is called SIV, for Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV- 1 the type found most common in Central and Southern Africa, the United States the rest of the world seems to have come from chimpanzees. HIV- 2, the type found in West Africa, seems to have come from the sooty manga bey monkey. Researchers believe the first infections occurred in the 1930 s. This was long before the polio vaccine, and long before anyone, including The White Man and the CIA knew much of anything about viruses. (HIV Positive) Some may wonder how a monkeys disease could affect humans.

The answer is simple; monkeys in Africa are commonly hunted for meat. If a hunter cuts his hand with his knife as he was butchering an infected monkey transmission would be almost certain. Even though the disease goes as far back as the 1930 s, the first occurrence of AIDS in America came a little more than twenty years ago on June 5, 1981. It came in a report from the Center for Disease Control, which said, A rare parasitic lung disease had been reported in Los Angeles, among five young men all active homosexuals. (HIV Positive) Since many of the first victims of the disease were gay men the first name given to the disease was GRID, Gay Related Immune Disorder. However, now it is clear that HIV is not a gay disease, it is spread just as easily by straight sex as it is by gay sex.

Although many people have been infected with HIV, its transmission is not as easy as one may think. Someone who is HIV positive does not have to worry about giving the disease to his or her family from coughing, sneezing, or by swimming in a pool with them. It is not even spread by a handshake, hug or even a kiss. Many people say HIV is transmitted by shared bodily fluids, yet there have been no known cases of HIV being spread by sweat, saliva or tears. However, there are bodily fluids that can spread HIV. These include, blood, vaginal fluid, semen and breast milk.

There are also a few different ways in which these fluids may transmit the virus. The first, most primary way of transmission is through anal and vaginal sex. One can also get HIV through oral sex, although it is much less common. Another common transmission is through drug use.

Sharing drug equipment can spread HIV. If someone who is infected uses drug equipment to inject drugs, and they get blood on the equipment the next person to use the equipment has a high chance of becoming infected. The final transmission is from mother to child. Without treatment, about one in four babies born to women with HIV have HIV themselves.

Fortunately, the use of medication before, during, and after delivery can cut the risk to just one in twelve. (HIV Positive) The risk may be reduced even further if the baby is delivered by Cesarean section. After the baby is born, an HIV positive woman must not breast-feed her baby. Breast milk carries HIV and may cause HIV in a baby that was born healthy. Symptoms on HIV are often hard to detect and many people may not even know they are infected. Shortly after one may become infected, they may get flu-like symptoms such as, fever, headaches, sore muscles, stomach aches, swollen lymph glands, or a skin rash. Some people may not get any symptoms at all.

Even if one does get symptoms, after they go away you may seem to be perfectly healthy for ten years or longer, even without treatment. During that time the virus is building up in the bloodstream and progressively killing off the T-cells and wearing down the immune system. Also even if one feels fine, they can still infect other people. The only way for someone to truly know if they are HIV positive is to be tested. The test does not check for HIV itself, it tests for the antibodies the body makes to try to fight HIV. If the test finds those antibodies, one is said to be HIV positive.

It should also be noted that it can take up to six months for the antibodies to show up, so initial test results may be inaccurate. Some people believe HIV is a death sentence, where this may have been true before it is now no longer the case. In 1996 a new class of HIV medicines called Protease Inhibitors (PIs) became widely available. At the same time it was discovered that taking three HIV drugs in combination could suppress HIV to undetectable levels.

Since these new treatments were introduced in 1996, the death rate from AIDS has dropped 80 % in the United States. (HIV Positive) Unfortunately, there is no cure for HIV. There is no treatment available today that can eliminate the virus from the body. The current treatment can reduce the amount of HIV to the point where it appears undetectable, yet it is not completely gone. Even though this means once one begins HIV treatment they are on it for life, people can and are living with HIV for much longer than before.

We are very fortunate in the United States to have so much research and so many places to turn. There are health centers and organizations all over America especially for HIV and AIDS. One organization that has done amazing things for people living with HIV is the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey (ACSNJ). The ACSNJ is located in Bellmawr, New Jersey just twenty minutes from Rowan University. I was very lucky to have become a part of the ACSNJ last year. I began working for the Teen AIDSline in January of last year.

I have to say it was a life and mind changing experience. When I began at ACSNJ I had little knowledge of HIV and AIDS. I knew what I had learned from high school health classes, but that was minute compared to what I was about to learn. I had to take a class called HIV 101 that basically taught me everything I have discussed throughout this paper.

One aspect that really changed my mind and touched my heart was from working with the volunteers at the Teen AIDSline. What the Teen AIDSline consists of is a group of high school students available to answer phone calls with questions from other teens, and working on different projects to get HIV information out to teens. Some of these projects are creating bulletin boards for high schools to display, speaking to schools about HIV, and writing articles for high school newspapers. What really touched me were the volunteers themselves. Most of the volunteers I had ranged from eighth grade to senior year in high school. All of which knew someone who was HIV positive.

It was their determination and passion for getting the word out that really changed me. When I was in high school my major concern was with whom I was going to go to a dance, and these teens are concerned with life changing events. Working at the ACSNJ was an amazing experience for me and opened my eyes to all of the ways HIV can and does affect my life. I know that I have changed a few minds about HIV just from coming home from the ACSNJ and reading a few statistics to a group of friends. Even if that is the least I can do I know I am changing some lives. I wish everyone could work at the ACSNJ and get to experience the reality that I got, because I know it would save a lot of lives.

A few statistics I have read to my friends are so unbelievable they did not even believe me at first. Just a few of these are: The World Health Organization and other AIDS experts estimate that 90 % of the 30 million people infected with HIV worldwide are heterosexual. Worldwide, sexual intercourse between men and women is still the most common mode of AIDS transmission. In the United States, AIDS is still among the leading cause of death for men and women ages 25 - 45. Every night in the Unites States, about 16 million couples have sex, and it is estimated that every night about 36, 000 condoms break or slip. A recent study in the United States found that only 17 % of those with multiple sexual partners used condoms.

One study showed that 40 % of HIV-infected people had not disclosed their HIV status to their sexual partner. In adult couples in which one partner was HIV-infected and the other was not, only 50 % of the couples chose to use condoms. The ACSNJ offers many other programs besides the Teen AIDSline for people affected by HIV and AIDS and for volunteers who want to help. Some of these programs include: Positively Nutritious, We-R-Family, Buddy Services, and Cooper Hospital Childcare.

Positively Nutritious is a program that supplies food to people affected by AIDS. From Monday to Friday lunch and dinner are delivered to the persons home as well as groceries and individual nutritional help are available. We-R-Family is a program designed to focus on parenting education. It deals with important family issues and outings for families. Childcare is also provided. Buddy Services is a program that gives people affected by AIDS a buddy to talk to and support them.

The buddies provide comfort, companionship based on non-judgmental acceptance. Cooper Hospital Childcare is a program that provides childcare for parents while they attend their appointments. Parents may also go shopping or make other appointments while the children are being cared for. These are just a few of the wonderful services the ACSNJ provide for those infected or affected with HIV and AIDS. The ACSNJ is always looking for more volunteers and welcomes everyone. In my opinion I feel everyone should experience the joy of volunteering at least once in their lives, I know it was an experience I will never forget.

Works Cited A Beginners Guide to HIV: The Basics. (2001, September). HIV Positive Glaxo Welcome (Producer). (1995). Understanding the Disease [videotape]. Research Triangle Park, NC: Glaxo Welcome.

Heterosexual Practices in the Era of HIV/AIDS. The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers 2001. [pamphlet]


Free research essays on topics related to: hiv and aids, polio vaccine, men and women, infected with hiv, living with hiv

Research essay sample on Infected With Hiv Living With Hiv

HIV and AIDS are one of the worlds most serious and deadly diseases. The disease HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. AIDS is caused by the progession of HIV virus. AIDS is a disease that causes a mass reduction in CD4+ T cells. As the cells continue to drop in number, the immune system deteriorates, and individuals suffer from a multiple of related deseases, and eventully dies( Slowik, 2002). UNAIDS estimates that approximately 60 million people have been infected since the beginning of the epidemic, a significant proportion of these individuals reside in Sub Saharan Africa. An epedic of HIV and AIDS has a significant impact on the ecomony of a country(Slowic,2002). This essay in particular will focus specifically on the the effects of hiv and aids on the economy of South Africa. Aids effects the ecomony of South Africa by increasing the number of orpans and charity groups, by raising the cost of health care and education, and lowering the countries GNP.

The HIV and Aids epidemic will produce a large number of South African Orphans. In 1997, 12.91 percent of South African adults suffered from HIV or AIDS. In 1998 South Africa had close to 700,000 AIDS orphans, and by 2005 14 percent of South African children will have lost their parents to AIDS (Hunter-Gault, 2002)

After the death of the parents; relatives, volunteer groups, and ministers assist the orphaned children. Since there are no state run orphanges, charity groups must raise funds and set up orphages. The orphanges are often overcrowded and lack supplies. One orphanage in Soweto is descibed as a former pigsty with uncovered rooms. Other organizations make door to door deliveries. The Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry for example, is Soweto-based volunteer group that looks after over 100 AIDS orphans. The group provides meals, pays the electricity and telephone bills, provides donations for school transportation, finds businesses to pay for school uniforms and fees, and donate clothing. Those who do not reside in orphanages, reside with the extended family. One woman known as Mama Jila manages a clan of 17 childeren. As a mother of seven, she inherited six grandchildren from two of her own children who give way to AIDS. The others are from several more other relatives. The woman atmits to getting help from neighbors and charity organizations but sais: “its not enough to keep all the children in school or even to clothe them properly.”

Although parentless children living in orphanges and in the crowded homes of relatives may seen like a socail problem it leads way to a number of economic problems. Parentless children lead to increased spending in welfare and state supported orphanage programs. Most of the childrens families are too poor to support another child and the majority fall through the cracks of the child welfare system.

Another economic effect of HIV and aids in South africa is the increase need for trained medical professionals. South Africa has estimated 5.3 million people infected with the AIDS virus, more than in any other country(Itano, 2002). With the number of citizens infected,funding and labor are streched to the limit. The intense labor conditions and lack of adequate pay, has caused a large amount of South African doctors and nurses to emigrate. Many say that the they care for over 40 patients per day and are significanly under paid. One doctors saids that the averege workload in Britin is 6 patients per day, with atleast three times the pay. The South African Medical Association estimates that at least 3,500 of its 26,000 practicing doctors are living abroad. The shortage is only expected to get worse, 10 percent of doctors surveyed by the South African Medical Journal said they may leave within the next five years, and 1 in 3 new doctors doing their required one-year community service said they plan to emigrate(Itano 2002).

The staggering presence of Hiv/aids has also increased the spending in health care and prevention. Already, two-thirds of the country’s total spending on health care. According to a recent government study, the cost of treating all AIDS patients in the country by 2010 will be $2.4 billion to $3 billion per year. The Aids epidemic has also decreased the profits of many drug manufacters(Murphy, 2003). Many phamacuitacal companies have donated Aids treatment medications. In 1996, Pfizer donated the drug Diflucan to South Africa. The daily dose of Diflucan costs about $15 in South Africa. At an annual income of $6000, $15 is more than the country’s poor can afford. Activist groups are also demanding companies to lower prices in South Africa. The Thai price of the generic AZT is about 70 cents, while the South African government pays about $7.50(Boyd, 2003).

Aids also cost South Africa in Gross National Product or (GNP). GNP is the total market value of goods and services produced by all citizens and capital during a given period (usually 1 yr)(Johnson 2000). In 1996 Aids cost the country almost 8% of GNP. By 2005 the South African government estimates that AIDS will costs the country 2% of GNP each year(Choynce 1999). Aids also effects the productivity of proffesionals such as civil servants, engineers, teachers, miners, and military personnel. The presence of Aids has decreased the work force, affected productivity and increased monies spent by companies on heath care. Some companies hire two people for every position assuming that one will most likely die from Aids. The work force has also decreased because young women are having to drop out of school to act as substitute laborers and care givers for HIV infected parents.

HIV and AIDs Effect the econmy of South Africa by increasing the spending on welfare programs, increaseding spending on heath care and education, and by decreasing the Gross National Product. Economic implications can be lessened by preventing new infections, Designing major development project appropriatly, and by mitigating the effects of Aids on poverty. To prevent the spead of disease South Africas should implement prograns hat educate the population on the spead of disease, provide free counciling, testing and condoms. In 1997 a simular program estimated that 237 new infectons were preventedand the use on condoms increased to 29 percent from 13 percent(Bollinger, Stover, 1999). Designing major development projects appropriately an also prevent new infections. Major construction programs require workers to spend long periods away from home, which increase prostitution. Specail villiges could be built around construction areas so that workers can live with their families. Finally, the effect of aids could be lessened by providing home health care to aids patients and implementing fostercare programs for orphans. Seventy-eight percent of middle class families said that they would be willing to take in foster children if they were extended some financial support(Bollinger, Stover, 1999).

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