In the early 1980's physicians began noticing strange occurrences in the hospital, mostly in homosexual men. These men were contracting unusual illnesses and forms of cancer and their problems were undiagnosed. Most of these problems they were having were also seen in children that had low immune systems, but these men were otherwise healthy. Soon, more and more patients were submitted to the hospital with the same problems. These patients were drugs addicts that used exposed needles and patients that received blood transfusions. As medical researchers progressed in their studies, they soon found out what was causing all of the illnesses and fatalities in people that seemed to be healthy. This illness is known as the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS. As the disease has progressed, the United States has formed programs to fight this spreading epidemic. As foundations,
1education, research, and health practices progress, these programs team up with
1the United States to take an active role in battling this world wide epidemic.
AIDs is a sexually transmitted disease that develops from HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Not only is it transmitted sexually, it can also be transmitted through parenteral exposure before birth, during birth, blood transfusions, and unsterilized needles (Shah). While some people believe they can contract this disease through touch or exposure through the air, it can only be contracted in a few ways. HIV can be tested in a clinic and with home test kits. Although there are many approved self-test kits, there are also many unapproved home test kits (FDA). HIV is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system lowering the white blood cell count in the human body. A retrovirus is a virus that contains RNA. An enzyme named reverse transcriptase gives the retrovirus the ability to copy into DNA, which means that the RNA is unique to its host. This is why a cure is such a difficulty to find (Medterms). In 2008, a study shows there are about 33.4 million people living with HIV, 2.7 million new infections, and 2 million deaths from AIDs. About 7 out of 10 deaths occurred in Africa (Shah).
A low immune system makes the body more susceptible to an outside infection and the body works harder to fight the infection. AIDs develops from HIV within ten years of exposure. The symptoms of AIDs come in three different stages. The first stage many people do not know they have been infected by AIDs. People may experience flu like symptoms two to four weeks after being infected. At the first stage of being infected by the virus, people can spread it to other people. Early on, the virus begins to destroy the immune system and weaken the body. After nine or more years, the second stage begins to kick in. The virus keeps multiplying and destroying the body’s immune system. Many people begin having shortness of breath, weight loss, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, and fever during this stage. The last stage of HIV, AIDs happens after ten or more years of being infected by the virus. A person begins having soaking night sweats, unexplained fatigue, shaking chills or constantly having a fever higher than100 degree, swelling lymph nodes for more than three months, chronic diarrhea, and persistent headaches in the last stage (Shah). There are many treatments available to slow the process of the development and 20 approved drugs that aid in the treatment, but no cure is available. Some treatments include combination medicines, reverse transcriptase inhibitors which block the action of reverse transcriptase, which is the protein that HIV needs to reproduce, protease inhibitors that disables protease which is another protein that HIV needs to reproduce, fusion inhibitors which are a newer medicine that work to block the HIV’s entry into cells (FDA). Along with these treatments, there are also many others. Africa’s economical struggles and their leaders are to blame for