Aids Essay, Research Paper
HIV is the abbreviation used for the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a life-threatening disease. HIV attacks the body’s immune system. Normally, the immune system produces white blood cells and antibodies that attack viruses and bacteria. The infection-fighting cells are called T-cell lymphocytes. Months to years after a person is infected with HIV, the virus destroys the T-cell lymphocytes. When the T-cell lymphocytes are destroyed, the immune system can no longer defend the body against diseases and tumors. Various infections called opportunistic infections develop. They are called opportunistic because they take advantage of the body’s weakened immune system. These infections would not normally cause severe or fatal health problems. However, when you have AIDS, the opportunistic infections eventually cause death because your body can no longer defend itself against them. AIDS is the condition of the body being overwhelmed by opportunistic infections and/or tumors. When the T-cell lymphocytes are destroyed, the immune system can no longer defend the body against diseases and tumors. Various infections called opportunistic infections develop. They are called opportunistic because they take advantage of the body’s weakened immune system. These infections would not normally cause severe or fatal health problems. However, when you have AIDS, the opportunistic infections eventually cause death because your body can no longer defend itself against them. AIDS is the condition of the body being overwhelmed by opportunistic infections and/or tumors. AIDS has been a part of life for almost twenty years, impacting how we think about health care, sex, privacy, relationships, and so many other issues that are a part of each day we live. In this course, we explore the larger effects of AIDS on American culture. I will examine HIV and AIDS from a variety of perspectives and disciplines talking about art, literature, and policy. law, history, medicine, and other ways of examining this disease. I also investigate how larger social issues such as race, sexual identity, gender, and class shapes our understandings of AIDS. Classification of HIV disease can be undertaken for several purposes and should be distinguished from disease staging. Staging is disease classification that aims primarily to make groupings that have different prognosis and can be used in guiding treatment decisions. Stages attempt to classify disease in a progressive sequence from least to most severe, each higher stage having a poorer prognosis or different medical management than the preceding stage. Early in the AIDS epidemic, clinical manifestations were frequently categorized as those diagnoses meeting the surveillance case definition of AIDS and other less severe signs and symptoms collectively known as AIDS-related conditions or complex (ARC). As more became known about the full spectrum of HIV-related disease, the term ARC was largely abandoned and the pathologic process from HIV infection to symptomatic disease was characterized with the more comprehensive phrase “HIV disease.” A number of classification and staging systems have been proposed for HIV disease, most using a combination of the CD4 lymphocyte count and symptoms, but only the classification scheme constructed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has gained wide acceptance. There are two main types ways of contracting HIV: (1) having sex with an infected person and (2) sharing a hypodermic needle or syringe with an affected. HIV is transmitted by the exchange of contaminated bodily fluids (blood, semen, or vaginal secretions). These bodily fluids may enter the body as the result of sexual contact with an infected partner, transfusion with contaminated blood, transplants of infected organs and tissues, sharing a hypodermic needle with an infected person, or being stuck by a needle previously used on a infected person. During sexual contact, HIV may enter the body through tiny cuts or sores in the mucosal lining of the vagina, rectum, and even the mouth. These cuts or sores may be so tiny that you may not be aware of them. As AIDS progresses, the person grows thinner and more fatigued, becomes unable to perform ordinary life functions, and falls prey to opportunistic infections, leading eventually to death. As it now stands, AIDS usually result in death within a few years. The estimated length of survival for the average person after the diagnosis of full-blown AIDS is little more than a year. In San Francisco, a 1980’s study of a sample of AIDS patients found that only 3.4 percent survived five years. The advent of new drugs offers hope of prolonging the lives of AIDS patient, however as well as delaying or perhaps even preventing the emergence of AIDS among people infected with HIV. The risks of HIV infection and deaths associated with AIDS fall most heavily on the least advantaged in our society: poor, urban, minority, women. African American and Hispanic- American women account for 19 percent of U.S. women but they represent 72 percent of cases of women with AIDS. AIDS is the leading cause of death among African-American women aged 14 to 44. HIV infection can be diagnosed by a blood test called ELISA. ELISA detects presence of HIV antibodies in the bloodstream. Drawing the blood takes only a few minutes and the results are usually available in two or three weeks. Although the antibody test does not directly reveal the presence of the virus, a positive test results indicates that a person has been infected with HIV and that the body’s immune system has produced antibodies against it. A negative result indicates that antibodies have not been found. People may show an antibody response to HIV infection long before they develop any symptoms. So simply because you or your partner look and feel well does not guarantee that either of you are free of HIV. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for AIDS. However, while scientists have not yet developed an effective vaccine that would provide protection against HIV or AIDS, some progress is reported in these directions.
Two drugs designed to help people with AIDS have been approved by Health Canada’s health protection branch. One is called nevirapine, which is used as an ingredient in some multi-drug “cocktails” to attack HIV’s ability to reproduce. The other drug, sold under the brand name Calyx, fights Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of cancer most commonly found in men with AIDS. Kaposi’s Sarcoma causes disfiguring purple lesions or blotches on the skin. A researcher from Alberta is being credited with developing Caelyx. If Kaposi’s Sarcoma works its way into the lungs and internal organs, it can be fatal. Traditional chemotherapy will sometimes halt the disease but the side effects can be devastating. This new treatment has found a way around the side effects while zapping the cancer more effectively. Federal approval of the drugs was revealed in separate announcements Thursday. A study in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine looked at the effects of the drug 3TC on people with long-standing infections with the virus. It found that after a year of treatment, signs of inflammatory injury fell significantly in just over half of those getting the medicine, compared with one-quarter of those on dummy medication. The drug, also known as lamivudine or Epivir, is one of several that block productions of an essential viral protein known as reverse transcriptase. Both the AIDS virus and hepatitis B use this enzyme. I believe that the worse lies ahead for America. It is your behavior and not the groups to which you belong that determine your relative risk of infections. You have to practice safe sex at all times no matter what. The only true way is to remain pure, which is very hard for some of us to do. Just always remember the next time you have sex your are putting your life on the line and lose it forever.