The HIV virus poses one of the biggest viral threats to human society today. It

is contracted through bodily fluids such as blood and semen, and sometimes even

saliva and tears. AIDS kills 100% of its victims and puts them through agony

before they die. It has been a threat for about 15 years, and it is not going

to stop now. In fact, AIDS is just getting started: It consumes more people

each year. There is no known treatment for it either, only antibiotics to slow

the reproduction of the virus. HIV is passed from one person to another by

bodily fluids only. It is usually gotten through sexual intercourse or other

intimate contact, through the exchanging of unsterilized intravenous needles, or

by the contact of HIV-infected bodily fluids and an open wound. It cannot

permeate though intact skin, hence it cannot be spread through informal contact.

AIDS has not been found to travel in insects or tame animals. In pregnant women,

the virus only infects the infant near or at the time of birth. The virus dies

quickly without a host.

AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDifficiency Syndrome) weakens the body¹s immune system so

it is sensitive to infection. The AIDS virus primarily attacks the T

lymphocytes, which are a main part of the immune system. The virus is also

incubated in cells called macrophages, where it is accidentally sent to other,

healthy cells in the body like neurons and lymphatic cells. After HIV is

contracted, the person looks and feels healthy for up to 20 years before

symptoms start occurring. During this time, the person can give the virus to

another even though it cannot be detected by sight or smell. Usually, symptoms

start developing within 1 to 2 years. Typical indications of the virus are

fever, weariness, weight loss, skin rashes, a fungal mouth infection called

thrush, lack of immunity to infection, and enlarged lymph nodes. When AIDS

overtakes the body, the body becomes especially susceptible to tuberculosis,

pneumonia, and a rare form of cancer called Kaposi¹s Sarcoma. Once AIDS has

fully taken hold, the body may suffer damage to the nerves and brain. The life

expectancy of an AIDS victim after the birth of symptoms is 1 to 5 years. AIDS

was believed to have begun in Central Africa around 1979. Nearly all of the

first AIDS patients were male homosexuals. However, after 1989 90% of all new

cases of AIDS were from heterosexual intercourse. Public awareness rose as

famous people began to die, like Rock Hudson, Perry Ellis, Michael Bennett,

Robert Mapplethorpe, and Tony Richardson.

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