Aids As a Worldwide Problem
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Aids As a Worldwide Problem
Aids, Abbreviated for Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a disease that was discovered very recently. It is caused by HIV; Human immunodeficiency virus. It attacks cells in the immune system and produces function defects. These defects leave the body open to invasion by several different infections. In some cases they can lead to the development of unusual cancers. This virus is also able to reach brain cells and damage the brain. "By the year 2000 there will be at least 40 million people worldwide infected with HIV."
Late in the 1970's, a lot of people were being infected with certain rare cancers. AIDS was first observed to be affecting homosexual and bisexual men. A while after this observation not only these people were being infected with the disease, yet intravenous drug users, hemophiliacs, and recipients of blood transfusions as well could contract the disease. In addition sexual partners of a person who already had AIDS could also be infected with AIDS. Studies that were done on patients with the disease showed that there was a depletion of white blood cells which coordinated the body's's immune defense against invading organisms. In 1983 a virus that affected the same cell was discovered by a man named Robert Gallo. This virus is called HIV. Evidence shows that HIV is the causative agent for AIDS. Little information is known about the history of HIV, however this was the first time in history that the Virus had spread worldwide. Similar viruses have been discovered in animal popu!
lations, such as African Monkeys, however these do not appear in humans.
HIV is transmitted through only 3 primary routes. Sexual intercourse with an individual who is infected with the disease already, exposure to infected blood or blood products, From a bother who had the disease before she gave birth to her child. The percentage of cases that have been transmitted through one of these three ways in the United States is 97%. 53% were homosexual. 7 percent are heterosexuals. The most significant way of transmission in Africa and Asia is through heterosexuality. 25% occur in intravenous drug users who have shared needles. Aids is the new leading cause for death in woman between the ages of 20 and 40 in N. and S. America, Western Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. In America blacks and Hispanic women are hit more with Aids. After it is established that an individual has HIV, he may show no symptoms at all. Most people with AIDS die within three years.
Many AIDS patients develop Cancers such as: Kasposi's sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Hodgkin's disease. These tumors tend to react poorly with chemotherapy, especially in patients with AIDS. It has very recently been established that HIV can exist and damage the brain, spinal chord, peripheral nerves.
The epidemic of AIDS is having and always did have a very big impact on health care. According to the U.S. Public Health Service, the lifetime cost for a person that has AIDS, from time from infection to death is $119,000. People who are exposed to the HIV virus will have a very hard time in receiving medical insurance coverage. there are very big effects that this disease is having on the society. Aids tests are now a requirement for military services. In the United States, as well as other nations they have began demanding rules for testing foreign visitors or potential immigrants for the disease. In the United States one event is the effort to keep school children infected with the disease isolated from the healthy children in the class.
Biomedical scientists are pursuing several different ways in the fight against AIDS. One way they are trying to solve the problem is by creating a vaccine that can induce neutralizing antibodies against HIV and protect individuals who have not yet been infected with the disease. Another way that scientists are trying to pursue this is by discovering curative agents against HIV. In the world today, it is sad to say that there is no such a vaccination. recent studies show that a vaccine should be available within ten years.
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