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A Leader of Death

Since 1981 this monster has plagued our streets ruining life after life, destroying everything in its path. This haunting disease comes in the form of a virus that has killed 21.8 million people thus far, of which almost 20 percent were children under the age of fifteen. Yet there are still millions of individuals who still don't believe they can be affected by Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the AIDS virus. For this reason and many more the number of infected HIV/AIDS persons have grown to approximately 40 million. Ignorance and denial is also a big helper when is comes to promoting HIV. Other behaviors that encourage the spread of this virus are intravenous drug users sharing needles, homosexual male intimacy, unprotected sex of any kind, and by any means of body fluid exchange contact.

AIDS is the leading cause of death amongst Americans 25-44 years old. I, myself who falls into the high-risk age group have heard acquaintances express precarious behavior in light of this killer disease. A lot of people are fooled by the myth that HIV cannot be passed on by oral stimulation. There is treatment, although there isn't a vaccine or a cure for HIV and the majority of infected people will eventually die. There are some HIV positive people that never come down with AIDS. The only way to ensure that HIV is not transmitted is to abstain from sexual activities completely.

When Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a retrovirus, is contracted it destroys the CD4 and T cell. These cells are essential to the performance of our immune system. Once they are invaded it slowly weakens the immune system until it is unable to fight off opportunistic infections. Being a retrovirus, HIV comes equipped with reverse transcriptase; an enzyme that processes the replication of double stranded DNA from single stranded RNA. HIV for the most part advances to AIDS after an average of 10 years. Full blown AIDS is diagnosed when the CD4 levels fall below 200 cells/microliter or when an opportunistic infection is identified. Many of these infections are fought off by a normal immune system, but are fatal to AIDS sufferers.

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