This is a dissertation chapter on AIDS:
The immune system consists of many different types of white blood cells that circulate throughout the body in blood and lymph. These white blood cells have various activities and properties that can distinguish them from one another. For instance some produce antibodies that bind or attack foreign material, termed antigen, and eliminated it from the body. Other white blood cells interact with the infected or diseased cells and destroy them. Some white bloods cells act as helper cells, or also known as T4 cells. What these cells do is support other cells of immunity in their efforts to defend the body against infection. But still there are other white cells, T8 or suppressor cells that act as suppressors or dampeners of the immune system and are active after the job of elimination foreign material has been done.
Now, imagine that you just walked into the doctor’s office for the results of your annual check up. The doctor starts to read your results and at the end he tells you he has bad news. You’re in shock because of what he has just said, “You have AIDS!” This is an every day ritual for doctors.
What is AIDS? This is a question that is commonly asked. AIDS short term for Acquired Immuno-defiency Syndrome, is a life threatening condition that is a result of the infection Human Immuno-defiency Virus also known as HIV. HIV does not kill because it is only an infection, which leads to the virus of AIDS. Diseases that are harmful to a healthy person can be deadly to a person infected with HIV.
How can one get AIDS? You can get HIV by the use of drug practice and use of needles, which is the leading cause of deaths today in the United States. Another way of getting HIV is by having unprotected sex with a person who is infected with HIV or AIDS. This isn’t just by having sexual intercourse: this includes oral sex. Even if you are wearing protection you are at real high risk. A girl on birth control is not protected from getting infected. HIV can be passed from mother to child. Any mother with HIV or AIDS who is pregnant or has a child…the baby will most likely come out HIV positive. Which means that this child will carry this virus for the rest of their lives. In 1985 there was no way to check for the antibodies in blood donor, so if the donor’s blood was infected and it was passed on to someone else, the person who received the blood most likely will get infected. These are only some ways that one can get HIV which then is leaded into AIDS. Malnutrition alone causes many of the immunological alternations seen in AIDS including the decrease of T-cell number, decrease of T4 helper cells, inversion of the T4/T8 ratio. Remember HIV is only the infection, which leads to the incurable virus of AIDS.
Not everyone reacts to the virus the same way. Some people have a brief illness similar to influenza or flu at around the same time that the body starts to produce antibodies against the virus. This usually occurs one to four months after initial infection. Some people however remain symptomless for 10-14 years. But 60-70% will experience symptoms within the first three years. Symptoms range from fever, aching joints, sweating, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, sickness, and diarrhea. Shingles and herpes may also appear. Out of a group of people who carry this virus, most likely 15-20% will develop the syndrome of severe infections and the symptoms categorized as AIDS. These conditions include lung cancer, skin tumors, severe fungal infections of the mouth and throat, and severe diarrhea. AIDS can also directly or indirectly damage the brain, which results in symptoms of apathy, forgetfulness, and disturbed behavior.
Did you know that in the United States the fifth leading cause of death for people between the ages of 25-44 is AIDS, or that 95% of AIDS start in developing countries. In North America 920,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS, 45,000 got HIV or AIDS this year, and 80% of them are men. About 650,000-900,000 of Americans have HIV. Just think of this…as you walk along a New York street in the day you will pass at least one person with HIV or AIDS every two blocks. Wouldn’t you think this is way too many people who are not being careful in our society?
Let’s go world wide. Do you know how many people have HIV or AIDS? Almost 34 million! This means that over half of the people infected live in the United States. In Botswana they took a poll and found that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men have HIV or AIDS, the ages are between 15-24. OK, let’s go to Lesotho in South Africa, one quarter of their women and a tenth of their men are living with this virus today. In Eastern Europe 700,000 or how about Central Asia 420,000 had this virus and that was three years ago! Just imagine the numbers now!
Imagine you are now 17 years old and your parents died when you were 6, the reason? AIDS! More than 13 million kids throughout the world have lost their parents to AIDS. More than 13 million kids are living without their parents because of this deadly virus. Oh speaking of kids, every single minute six people under the age of 25 are infected with HIV. That means that 8,640 kids are infected by the virus everyday!
There is no specific treatment for AIDS. The only treatment for AIDS is to be SAFE. People who are infected have to take many medications everyday. Some people have to take up to 15 pills everyday and then have to go to the doctor and get shots every two weeks. That’s for the rest of their lives. But you need to know that these medications do not cure this virus, because viruses cannot be cured, but these medications help with the pain. Since people take so many pills everyday their immune systems is resistant to the medication and no longer works. Options minimize daily for people with HIV or AIDS. Doctors are researching for treatments, but none have yet been found.
Finally, if you see AIDS as a disease that only touches other people, then you better think again. You need to be careful! Don’t think that those who have AIDS are different or that was their deserving of fate. But think about this, if you get AIDS what will you think if someone treated you as bad as others treat people with AIDS right now. I would think of them as more someone to look up to because they are going through something that we can’t even imagine, think about taking up to fifteen pills a day, that is an awful number of pills to even think about or taking several shots every two weeks, knowing that you cannot cure your sickness. So when you’re doing something unsafe think about what almost thirty four million people are living with and all the struggles they have to go through just because they made one mistake, some not even none. Also, remember when people warn you about AIDS it isn’t just a gay or black disease! I’m saying this because most people think that AIDS can ONLY affect black people or gays.
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