Essay on AIDS

This essay has a total of 2199 words and 10 pages.

AIDS



Being one of the most fatal viruses in the nation, AIDS (Acquired
Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is now a serious public health concern in most major
U.S. cities and in countries worldwide. Since 1986 there have been impressive
advances in understanding of the AIDS virus, its mechanisms, and its routes of
transmission. Even though researchers have put in countless hours, and millions of
dollars it has not led to a drug that can cure infection with the virus or to a vaccine
that can prevent it. With AIDS being the leading cause of death among adults,
individuals are now taking more precautions with sexual intercourse, and medical
facilities are screening blood more thoroughly. Even though HIV ( Human
Immunodeficieny Virus) can be transmitted through sharing of non sterilize needles
and syringes, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and through most bodily fluids,
it is not transmitted through casual contact or by biting or blood sucking insects.

Development of the AIDS Epidemic
The first case of AIDS were reported in 1982, epidemiologists at the Center of
Disease Control immediately began tracking the disease back wards in time as well
as forward. They determined that the first cases of AIDS in the United States
probably occurred in 1977.
By early 1982, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and 2 foreign countries
had reports of AIDS cases, however the total remained low: 158 men and 1 woman.
Surprising enough more then 90 percent of the men were homosexual or bisexual.
Knowing this more then 70 percent of AIDS victims are homosexual or bisexual
men, and less then 5 percent are heterosexual adults. Amazing enough by
December of 1983 there were 3,000 cases of AIDS that had been reported in adults
from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and the disease had been
recognized in 20 other countries.
Recognizing the Extent of Infection
The health of the general homosexual populations in the area with the
largest number of cases of the new disease was getting looked at a lot closer by
researchers. For many years physicians knew that homosexual men who reported
large numbers of sexual partners had more episodes of venereal diseases and were
at higher risk of hepatitis B virus infection than the rest of the population, but
conicidentally with the appearance of AIDS,. other debilitating problems began to do
appear more frequently. The most common was swollen glands, often accompanied
by extreme fatigue, weight loss, fever, chronic diarrhea, decreased levels of blood
platelets and fungal infections in the mouth. This condition was labeled ARC (AIDS
Related complex).
The isolation of HIV in 1983 and 1984 and the development of techniques to
produce large quantities of the virus [paved the way for a battery of tests to
determined the relationship between AIDS and ARC and the magnitude of the
carrier problem. Using several different laboratory tests, scientists looked for
antibodies against the HIV in the blood of AIDS and ARC patients. They found that
almost 100 percent of those with AIDS or ARC had the antibodies-they were
seriopostive. In contrast less then one percent of persons with no known risk factors
were seropositive.

Definition of AIDS
AIDS is defined as a disease, at least moderately predictive of defects in cell-
meditated immunity, occurring in a person with no known cause for diminished
resistance to that disease. Such diseases include Kaposi's Sarcoma, Pneumocystis
carnii pneumonia, and serious other opportunistic infections. After the discovery of
HIV and the development of HIV-antibody test, the case definition of AIDS was
updated to reflect the role of the virus in causing AIDS, but the scope of the
definition remained almost the same.
Transmission
HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, it is transmitted by both
homosexual and bisexual and heterosexual activity. The first recognized case was
among homosexual and bisexual men. Many numbers of studies have shown that
men who have sexual partners and those who practice receptive anal intercourse
are more likely to be infected with HIV than other homosexual men. Researchers
found a strong connection between HIV infection and rectal trauma, enemas before
sex, and physical signs of disruption of the tissue lining the rectum.
Homosexual women tend to have a very low incidence of venereal disease in
general, an AIDS is no exception. Female-to-female transmission is highly
uncommon, however it has been reported in one case and suggested in another. In
the reported case, traumatic sex practices apparently resulted in transmission of HIV
from a woman who had acquired the virus through IV drug abuse to her non-drug-
using sexual partner.
1983 was when the first heterosexual (Male to female; female to male)
transmission was reported. In 1985, 1.7 percent of the adult cases of AIDS reported
to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) were acquired through heterosexual
activity; projections suggest that by 1991 the proportion will rise to 5 percent.
Heterosexual contact is the only transmission category in which women outnumber
men with AIDS. Heterosexual contacts accounts for 29 percent of AIDS cases
among women in the United States, but for only 2 percent of cases among men.
Estimates of the risk of HIV transmission in unprotected intercourse with a person
known to be infected with HIV are 1 in 500 for a single sexual encounter and 2 in 3
for 500 sexual encounters. The use of a condom reduces these odds to 1 in 5,000
for a single encounter and to 1 in 11 for 500 encounters.
Routes NOT Involved in Transmission of HIV
A study of more than 400 family members of adult and pediatric AIDS
patients demonstrate that the virus is not transmitted by any daily activity related to
living with or caring for an AIDS patient. Basically meaning that personal
interactions typical in family relationships, such as kissing on the cheek, kissing on
the lips, and hugging, have not resulted in transmission of the virus.
Patterns
There are three different geographic patterns of AIDS transmission. The first
one is characteristic of industrializing nations with large numbers of reported AIDS
cases, such as the United States, Canada, countries in Western Europe, Australia,
New Zealand, and parts of Latin America. In these areas most AIDS cases have been
attributed to homosexual or bisexual activity and intravenous drug abuse. The
second pattern is seen in areas of central, eastern, and southern Africa and in some
Caribbean countries. Unlike pattern one most AIDS cases in these areas occur
among heterosexuals, and the male-to-female ratio approaches 1 to 1. The third
pattern of transmission occurs in regions of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia,
and most of the Pacific. It is believed that HIV was introduced to these areas in the
early to mid-1980s.
Any study associated with AIDS must begin with the understanding that AIDS
is only one outcome of infection with HIV-1. People infected with the virus may be
completely asymptomtic; they may have mildly debiliating symptoms; or they may
have life-threatening conditions caused by progressive destruction of the immune
system, the brain, or both.
One of the first signs of HIV-1 infection in some patients is an acute fluelike
disease. The condition lasts from a few days to several weeks and is associated with
fever, sweats, exhaustion, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, soar throat, diarrhea,
swollen glands, and a rash on the torso.
Some of the symptoms of the acute illness may result from HIV-1 invasion of
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