AIDS paper

Submitted By Twanette-Stephens
Words: 901
Pages: 4

The first recognized cases of AIDS occurred in the USA in the early 1980s. A number of gay men in New York and California suddenly began to develop rare opportunistic infections and cancers that seemed stubbornly resistant to any treatment. At this time, AIDS did not yet have a name, but it quickly became obvious that all the men were suffering from a common syndrome.

The discovery of HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, was made soon after. HIV is a lentivirus, and like all viruses of this type, it attacks the immune system. Lentiviruses are in turn part of a larger group of viruses known as retroviruses. The name 'lentivirus' literally means 'slow virus' because they take such a long time to produce any adverse effects in the body. They have been found in a number of different animals, including cats, sheep, horses and cattle. So how can animals have HIV as well as humans? Well, it is believed that it was passed in the beginning from the animal Chimpanzee to a gay man by zoonosis which means the transmitting of a disease to human from an animal.

Factors including man-made motors and waters also cause this disease to spread quickly and efficiently. Both national and international travel undoubtedly had a major role in the initial spread of HIV. In the US, international travel by young men making the most of the gay sexual revolution of the late 70s and early 80s would certainly have played a large part in taking the virus worldwide. In Africa, the virus would probably have been spread along truck routes and between towns and cities within the continent itself. However, it is quite conceivable that some of the early outbreaks in African nations were not started by Africans infected with the 'original' virus at all, but by people visiting from overseas where the epidemic had been growing too. The process of transmission in a global pandemic is simply too complex to blame on any one group or individual.

In the world it also can be transferred from dirty needles used from one person to another. The 1970s saw an increase in the availability of heroin following the Vietnam War and other conflicts in the Middle East, which helped stimulate a growth in intravenous drug use. As a result of sharing unsterilized needles and syringes, HIV was passed on among injecting drug users (IDUs). Due to this repeated practice many IDUs continue to be infected with HIV. The HIV/AIDS epidemic threatens the social fabric of the most affected countries. Of all units affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, individuals, households and families are the most affected. The evidence shows that the AIDS epidemic is having severe effects on households.

The household impact begins as soon as a member of a household starts suffering from HIV-related diseases. In addition to social and psychological consequences, three kinds of economic impacts can be distinguished. The first is the loss of the income of the family member, in particular if he or she is the breadwinner. The second impact is the increase in household expenditures to cover the medical costs. The third impact is the indirect cost resulting from the absenteeism of members of the family from work or school to care for the AIDS patient.

Like every other sector of the social and economic life of an AIDS-afflicted country, the education sector has felt the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The HIV/AIDS epidemic may affect the education sector in at least three ways the supply of education through the availability of teachers, the demand for