AIDS/Aids term paper 13581

AIDS term papers
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AIDS

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is a disease entity that has been recognized since 1981. It is caused by infection with the human immune deficiency virus, which attacks selected cells in the immune system and produces defects in function. This leaves the body open to an invasion by various infections, which are therefore called opportunistic diseases, and to the development of unusual cancers. The virus also tends to reach certain brain cells. Since the first AIDS cases were reported in 1981, through mid-1991, more than 190,000 AIDS cases and more than 120,000 deaths had been reported in about 162 countries worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular appears to suffer a heavy burden of this illness. So far there is no cure or vaccine that exists for AIDS, but scientists believe that they are not to far away from finding a cure. HIV infection and AIDS represent one of the most pressing public policy and

public health problems worldwide.

The U.S Center for disease control has established criteria for defining cases of AIDS that are based on laboratory evidence, the presence of opportunistic diseases, and a range of other conditions. Other complications of HIV infection include fever, diarrhea, severe weight loss, and swollen lymph nodes. When HIV-infected persons experience some of the above symptoms but do not meet full criteria for AIDS, they are given the diagnosis of AIDS-related complex, or ARC.

How is it spread? There are four ways the AIDS virus can be spread. The first is by having sexual intercourse with someone infected with the virus. AIDS is transmitted this way by way of the semen. This is also the way most people get AIDS. The second most common way people get AIDS is by dirty intravenous needles. It is transmitted by the blood or other body fluids on the needle, and when someone else then uses the same needle, they have a high risk of catching the virus. The third most common way AIDS is spread is by blood transfusions. This is done almost the same way as by IV needle but it is always by the blood. The rarest way the AIDS virus is spread is by a mother passing it to fetus inside her.

AIDS is a very rapidly-spreading disease although it is only spread four ways. Ten years ago only two cases of AIDS were known. In 1983 over 3,000 cases were recorded, and by 1989, there were more than 100,000 cases. Many people think you can get AIDS by what scientists call "casual ." Casual is by such means as swimming pools, kissing, toilet seats, etc. ...it's important to remember that the AIDS virus doesn't live in the air or on things we touch, the way cold or flu viruses do. (Oliver, what u need to know -AIDS, 147) There have been no cases recorded where the infection was caused by casual .

The part of your body that the AIDS virus kills is your immune system as mentioned before, but what it really kills is your white blood cells. White blood cells usually attack a virus when it enters the body. "It is a relatively new disease. The first cases in this country were discovered in 1981." (Oliver, what u need to know -AIDS, 152) Still, in all this time, scientists have not figured out a cure or vaccine for the virus because they do not even know how the AIDS virus cripples your white blood cells.

A common symptom AIDS patients get is developing rare types of skin cancer. (Oliver, what u need to know -AIDS, 112) Really AIDS doesn't kill you; other germs or viruses do because when they enter the body there is no immune system to protect your body so they can live freely.

There is no 100% sure way to prevent AIDS, and there is always a possibility that you may contract the AIDS virus. What can be done? The only true 100% sure prevention from getting AIDS from sexual is called abstinence which means not having sex. This method of precaution is not a full proof way to stop the spread of AIDS. There is no law that stops people from having sex, and if there was one, there would be a large percentage of people who would not follow this law. For this type of following to be observed, governments should spend more on education and increase the awareness on not casual sex.

The other way to protect yourself from AIDS when you have sex is by using condoms. Although condoms are not a 100% sure way to protect yourself from AIDS, it is still better than doing nothing. A condom is a thin piece of rubber that fits over the erect penis that traps the semen at the end. "Clearly it would be helpful and self protective if a person who has a high risk sexual life-style could at least modify it to make it less risky." (Oliver, what u need to know -AIDS, 97). This method of prevention has shown sustained results, but in Third World nations the problem still persists. Condoms are not readily available or either they are too expensive. The World Health Organization should educate third world nations and supply their people with free supply of condoms. With this form of prevention and extensive public education, one should see results improving.

The only really sure way to protect yourself from getting AIDS by needles is not to use them, but if you do, there are ways to prevent contracting AIDS. The first is not to use needles that someone else has used before you. Today doctors use different needles for each patient. In Canberra, The capital Of Australia, the number of poor class people who contracted AIDS from sharing of syringes due to their drug related problems grew to an alarming rate. Drug abusers could not afford to buy new syringes every time they need to shoot-up. So instead of them ridding the city of drug abusers which is virtually impossible, the government introduced centers which provided abusers with all their needs for free. As a return of implementing this system, there has been a significant drop of AIDS related cases caused by sharing of needles. The World Health Organization should implement this system, as it has proven results to show that the system works. Governments should again emphasize more on the dangers of sharing needles through extensive education and advertisements. Poster campaigns in low class residential areas and dramatic advertisements should send a message to the public.

The hardest way to prevent getting AIDS is when you are going to have a blood transfusion. A blood transfusion is when you're going to have surgery and you need somebody's blood to replace the blood that you lost during the operation. One way to protect yourself from AIDS when you're going to have a blood transfusion is by checking out the person that donated the blood and to see if he/she has contracted AIDS or has AIDS symptoms. The other way is to try to donate your own blood ahead of time. Since 1985 all blood must be scanned for the AIDS virus before it is used. (M.O.H Flyer). This form of screening has proven to be successful, as members of the public have to go through a mandatory screening before they donate their blood.

Children contracting AIDS through their mothers fetus is a method almost unheard of unless the child s mother already has the AIDS virus. There is no hope of a cure for the unborn baby unless the mother is willing to spare the child of future misery by having an abortion. The sure way to put an end to this problem is through education. Again, letting women know the dangers involved when not making sure their partner is using protection can be devastating for their future.

The effectiveness of each way of preventing AIDS has been discussed. What does the future hold? Many scientists today dedicate their whole lives to finding cures for some kind of disease and many of them are trying to find a cure for AIDS. Such drugs as AZT, DDL and Pyridinone have been used in attempting to retard the development of the AIDS symptoms. (M.O.H Flyer) Although none of the above drugs actually cure AIDS, they do slow it down. In Michigan, a hospital has combined all three of the drugs in a test tube and the mixture killed the virus. They did this because the virus mutates so fast that one drug alone will not do it, but if you send AIDS three drugs, it can't fight them all at one time so it dies. (Oliver, what u need to know -AIDS, 180) These are all chemical cures but other scientists are also working on genetic cures. Wong Follie, a world-renowned member of the AIDS organization has dedicated almost her whole life to finding a cure for AIDS and other diseases. One of the possible cures she is working on works by making a semi-copy of the AIDS virus. The part that actually kills your immune system has been crippled. When the drone enters the body the immune systems fights it. So basically what it is doing is teaching the immune system how to kill the real AIDS virus when it comes. This has not actually been tested because of the time it takes to make the drone.

The AIDS virus is now the biggest natural threat to man and their existence on earth. Only time will tell where the virus will take us into the 21st century. With total funding and the combination of the right minds we should prevail this modern epidemic and survive into the next century.

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