AIDSHIV Essay Research Paper AIDSHIVThe HIV virus

AIDS/HIV Essay, Research Paper


The HIV virus poses one of the biggest viral threats to human society today. It

is contracted through bodily fluids such as blood and semen, and sometimes even

saliva and tears. AIDS kills 100% of its victims and puts them through agony

before they die. It has been a threat for about 15 years, and it is not going

to stop now. In fact, AIDS is just getting started: It consumes more people

each year. There is no known treatment for it either, only antibiotics to slow

the reproduction of the virus. HIV is passed from one person to another by

bodily fluids only. It is usually gotten through sexual intercourse or other

intimate contact, through the exchanging of unsterilized intravenous needles, or

by the contact of HIV-infected bodily fluids and an open wound. It cannot

permeate though intact skin, hence it cannot be spread through informal contact.

AIDS has not been found to travel in insects or tame animals. In pregnant women,

the virus only infects the infant near or at the time of birth. The virus dies

quickly without a host.

AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDifficiency Syndrome) weakens the body?s immune system so

it is sensitive to infection. The AIDS virus primarily attacks the T

lymphocytes, which are a main part of the immune system. The virus is also

incubated in cells called macrophages, where it is accidentally sent to other,

healthy cells in the body like neurons and lymphatic cells. After HIV is

contracted, the person looks and feels healthy for up to 20 years before

symptoms start occurring. During this time, the person can give the virus to

another even though it cannot be detected by sight or smell. Usually, symptoms

start developing within 1 to 2 years. Typical indications of the virus are

fever, weariness, weight loss, skin rashes, a fungal mouth infection called

thrush, lack of immunity to infection, and enlarged lymph nodes. When AIDS

overtakes the body, the body becomes especially susceptible to tuberculosis,

pneumonia, and a rare form of cancer called Kaposi?s Sarcoma. Once AIDS has

fully taken hold, the body may suffer damage to the nerves and brain. The life

expectancy of an AIDS victim after the birth of symptoms is 1 to 5 years. AIDS

was believed to have begun in Central Africa around 1979. Nearly all of the

first AIDS patients were male homosexuals. However, after 1989 90% of all new

cases of AIDS were from heterosexual intercourse. Public awareness rose as

famous people began to die, like Rock Hudson, Perry Ellis, Michael Bennett,

Robert Mapplethorpe, and Tony Richardson. Basketball star Magic Johnson also

reported having AIDS. The approximate number of AIDS cases in the U.S. alone is

65,000 and growing. So far, there is no treatment or vaccination for AIDS. With

most viruses, the body produces antibodies that eventually destroy the virus.

However, with HIV, natural antibodies are completely ineffective. Blood tests

will not give accurate results of infection of HIV until between 2 weeks and 3

months after the initial infection. In 1987, the drug AZT (azidothymidine) had

proved effective in slowing the growth of the virus, but it was lethal in large

doses and some patients could not handle taking it at all. There was a new HIV-

fighting chemical scientists found called DDI (dideoxyinosine) that was not as

harmful to the patient and could be used in AZT?s place for more sensitive

patients. In 1992 DDC (zalcitbine) was found to be useful for delaying the

reproduction of HIV in patients with advanced AIDS, but only in conjunction with

AZT. AIDS is one of an epidemic of super-deadly viruses like Ebola, Hanta Virus,

and Dingae in Puerto Rico. In my opinion, this is nature?s way of fighting back

from overpopulation. However, AIDS is a formidable disease and is a force to be

reckoned with.


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