Length: 1314 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)
HIV/AIDs is a huge epidemic still plaguing society today. The lack of knowledge and technical advances has caused an increasing number of cases. It has made its way around the world since the 1940s, causing countries to join together in the fight against AIDs. With all the campaigning that has been done the numbers of cases continue to rise. Countries have separated the disease into three patterns to make it easier to distinguish the effects that AIDs has on different regions of the world. As well as what subtypes sprout from what areas. HIV/AIDs can be spread in many different ways. The future is still uncertain for the victims whom lives have been dramatically changed by this deadly disease.
It started back in 1940 when the virus jump from an animal to a human, it came from either a monkey or chimpanzee. A man who is unknown, still today, went to a hospital in Leopoldville, Africa which is now know as Kinshasa. The unknown man gave blood in a clinic for a study on blood diseases. It was then frozen in a test tube and forgotten about. Nearly a quarter of a century later, around the mid 1980s, scientist took a look at the blood again due to the growing AIDs epidemic. They discovered the man had the HIV virus which causes AIDs.
AIDs has several different subtypes of the virus, all which can be traced to the Leopoldville man. The variety of types makes it hard to find a cure for the disease since it is constantly changing and mutating it’s self. The president of the United States and the prime minister of France announced in 1987 that they were going to join together to fight against the issue.
The virus has been divided up into three patterns. Pattern 1 is the type of AIDs in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. In these parts of the world AIDs is spread mostly by homosexual intercourse and found in homosexual and bisexual men most often. The number of cases has drastically dropped from blood transfusion due to routine screenings. The sharing of needles by intravenous drug abusers seems to be becoming a huge problem in helping to spread the disease faster. Since homosexual and bisexual men seem to be at a greater risk for the virus, the ratio of men to women is 20:1 in the pattern 1 countries.
Pattern 2 is found in the sub-Saharan Africa, Central Africa, and also in the inner-city people, living in a deprived social-economic community, in the big cities of the USA. It is spread through male and female homosexual activity almost equally with a slight predominance in women. There is no real high risk region in the pattern 2 as in pattern 1 except for maybe in promiscuous individuals such as prostitutes or long-distant truck drivers. It is more common to see the infection in urban rather than rural areas.
In the African cities infection could reach up to 30% of adults, and in female prostitutes up to 90%. Although blood is only periodically screened in Africa, the transfusion of blood doesn’t cause a major role in the spread of the disease.
Pattern 3 is where AIDs has been introduced in much later stages than in patterns 1 and 2 and has not yet become fully established. The pattern 3 has begun to shrink though due to the recent political developments which speed up contact with many of these countries. Pattern 3 originally included North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
AIDs, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, are just the later stages of HIV which is Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The HIV cells are retrovirus cells which reverse the usual flow of genetic information so that they can create copies of themselves. In doing so they kill helper T-cells which are cells that help other lymphocytes respond to the early stages of an infection. By killing off the helper T-cells the immune system has become weaker. The system then is not able to fight off pathogens that rarely cause disease in healthy people. Infections can then form in the lungs, mouth, and a rare form of cancer, which the immune system normal prevents can develop. These infections are what ends up killing people with AIDs, not the actual virus it’s self.
AIDs can be found in the blood and body secretions of a person with the infection. You can spread Aids threw sexual contact such as oral, vaginal, or anal sex. AIDs is also capable of passing threw the placenta from mother to child but does not always occur. In some cases AIDs has been linked to breast feeding of infants. Many people believe that the virus can be spread threw the breast milk but there is still a majority that say it can not. Recently a case went to court on the breast feeding of a HIV infected mothers to non infected infants. The parents of the child lost the case and are not able to breast feed their child due to circumstantial evidence. A social worker goes to the families house periodically to check for signs of a breast feed baby.
In 2003 4.2 million adults and 700,000 children had been newly infected with HIV worldwide. The number of people already infected with the disease was 37 million adults and 2.5 million children. About 2.5 million adults and 500,000 children died from AIDs in 2003. Since the start of the epidemic till 2001 17.5 million adults and 4.3 million children have died. 14 million dollars has been spent to support orphaned children.
The future of HIV/AIDs epidemic is still uncertain. Since doctors don’t really know too much about the disease it’s hard to say what will happen. There are theories that in the next 40 years, AIDs will have even more subtypes than now, which could be even more lethal then the ones today. The campaigns promoting safer sex and abstinence that have been presented to prevent AIDs have not worked as well as political parties would hope for. Even with all the information available to everyone it seems that there is a rise in sexually transmitted AIDs around the world. By the end of the decade it has been predicted that the third world countries will have over 90% of all the AIDs cases. HIV/AIDs prevention has not worked well in developed countries but it has failed even greater in non developed third world countries.
The only real hope that seems to be available is for a breakthrough in science. A vaccine that could cure a person from the disease for a cheap price, such as penicillin does with syphilis, would end up being the best bet for a world free of AIDs. A vaccine that only prolonged the affects of AIDs could cause a dramatic increase in the disease. It is spread faster and more frequently while the person is still in the HIV stage, prolonging there exposure to the AIDs virus could only create an incline in the spread of the disease.
There is no real way to be sure who will get the disease but there are many precautions society can take. For starters knowledge of all sexual partners and getting tested before any type of intercourse happens can help stop the spread of the virus. Even after being test everyone should always use a condom even when it comes to oral sex. Also never touching somebody else’s blood or open wound is a good precaution. People can never know what small trace of blood could be left in a scrape or what small cut is present of themselves. Another important precaution to take part in is the sharing of needles. HIV/AIDs is one of the largest epidemics the world faces today. Everyone has to watch there own back to help this epidemic become history.