Aids 5 Essay Research Paper AIDSAcquired immune

Aids 5 Essay, Research Paper AIDS Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is a recently recognized disease. It is caused by infection with the human

Aids 5 Essay, Research Paper


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is a recently

recognized disease. It is caused by infection with the human

immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS is a complicated illness that may

involve several phases. It is caused by a virus that can be passed from

person to person. AIDS impairs the human body’s immune system–the

system is responsible for warding off disease–and leaves the victim

susceptible to various infections.

AIDS was first conclusively identified in the United States in 1981,

when 189 cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control. Within a

decade the disease had spread to virtually all populated areas of the world.

In the United States alone there are about 65,000 new cases every year. The

origin of the AIDS virus is uncertain, but it may have originated in Central


The first AIDS patients in the Americas and Europe were almost

exclusively male homosexuals. Later patients included those who used

unsterilized intravenous needles to inject drugs; hemophiliacs (persons with a

blood-clotting disorder) and others who had received blood transfusions;

females whose male sexual partners had AIDS; and the children of parents

with AIDS. However since 1989, heterosexual sex was found to be the

fastest growing means of transmission of the virus, with 90 percent of the

new cases coming from heterosexual sex.

How AIDS Is Spread

AIDS is transmitted by direct contact of the bloodstream with body

fluids that contains the AIDS virus, particularly blood and semen from an

HIV-infected person. The virus is usually transmitted through various forms

of sexual intercourse, the transfusion of virus-contaminated blood, or sharing

in HIV-contaminated intravenous needles.

The AIDS virus cannot enter intact bodily surfaces, such as skin, and

quickly perishes outside the human body. AIDS is not spread by casual

physical contact or by sneezing. The virus has been found in tears and

saliva, but it is there in such low amounts that transmission from these body

fluids is extremely rare. There are no known cases of AIDS transmission by

insects or by domestic animals. Studies show that the virus is usually passed

to an infant close to or during delivery. Recently infected mothers can

transmit the virus to their kids through breast milk.

Detection and Treatment

Following infection with HIV, an individual may show no symptoms

at all or may develop small illnesses. The period between initial infection

and the development of AIDS is currently varying between six months and

eleven years. Usually, when the AIDS virus enters the bloodstream. the

body’s immune system produces antibodies to fight the microorganisms.

Blood tests can detect these antibodies and therefore can show exposure to

the virus. However, these tests sometimes give wrong readings and only

begin giving correct information within two weeks to three months after

infection. Scientists do not know exactly how the AIDS virus damages the

immune system, they also do not understand why the natural antibodies

developed to destroy the virus are not effective.

By 1987 the drug azidothymidine (AZT) had proved effective in

slowing the reproduction of the HIV virus in humans, but it is highly toxic

and cannot be taken by many patients. In 1989 researchers determined that

lower doses of AZT would be effective and less harmful for patients that

have early symptoms of AIDS and for kids with AIDS. Dideoyinsine (DDI)

was approved in the United States in 1991 for the treatment if HIV infection.

This drug is a useful replacement for AZT and is used in kids and other

patients for who AZT is too toxic. In 1992 zalcitabine, or DDC, became the

third approved drug to treat people infected with the AIDS virus. It was,

however, approved for use only in combination with AZT to treat adults with

advanced HIV infection. Several other drugs and treatments have been

approved to treat P. carinii pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and other AIDS-

related conditions. Several vaccines against AIDS are being developed and


Efforts at Prevention

Since there is no cure for AIDS education and risk reduction remain

the most powerful tool in the fight against AIDS. Because there is only a

few ways of transmitting AIDS, the further spread of AIDS could virtually be

stopped by avoiding behaviors that put a person at risk. Education can help

to achieve this. There are several ways to reduce the spread of AIDS

through sexual contact. These include practicing abstinence–no sex–or

practicing safe sex. Practicing safe sex means by having sex with one

person in which both people are free of HIV, or using a latex condoms

whenever engaging in sex.

In March 1983 the major U.S. blood-banking organizations started

procedures to reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission by asking people at

increased risk of AIDS to stop donating blood. They expanded screening

procedures so that people with a history if risky behavior or with symptoms

of AIDS could not give blood.

What Happens After Infection

Most people recently infected look and feel healthy. In some people

the virus may remain inactive, and these people are carriers, they seem

healthy but are still able to infect others. After a few years, some people

may develop AIDS-related complex, or ARC. Its symptoms include fever,

fatigue, weight loss, skin rashes, a fungal infection in the mouth known as

thrush , lack of resistance to infections, and swollen lymph nodes.

Sometimes the symptoms disappear, but the illness usually goes on to become

AIDS. Though it may take as much as twenty years for the virus to become

AIDS, the average time is one to two years.

The AIDS virus causes so much damage to the immune system that the

body usually becomes more able to get a variety of infections. Infections

that are harmless to people with normal immune systems but that can be

lethal to those people with the AIDS virus. The average life prospect for an

AIDS victim from the time that symptoms begin to show is one to five years.

Public awareness of this disease gradually built up as more respected

victims began to die: actor Rock Hudson (1985), clothes designer Perry

Ellis (1986), choreographer Michael Bennett (1987), photographer Robert

Mapplethorpe (1989), and Oscar-winning director Tony Richardson (1991).

When basketball superstar Magic Johnson announced in 1991 that he had

gotten the AIDS virus, the feeling spread quick that anyone, not just selected

groups of people, could be at risk.

The only way of stopping this disease is by education. Everyone most

protect themselves and their partners, when having sex, if they do not want to

get HIV. Also remember nothing can make sex 100% safe. The only way

to keep yourself completely safe from AIDS and other STDs in by not having