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Case Analysis: HIV/AIDS

As the world evolved health problems have evolved with it. One of the many health problems that medical professionals deal with today is HIV/AIDS. HIV is a virus spread through body fluids that affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS (www.cdc.gov). Like many other chronic illnesses, HIV/AIDS consist of stages. HIV disease has a well-documented progression. Untreated, HIV is almost universally fatal because it eventually overwhelms the immune system—resulting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV treatment helps people at all stages of the disease, and treatment can slow or prevent progression from one stage to the next (www.cdc.gov). People become infected with HIV through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk, and vaginal fluids. These fluids can be passed between people in a variety of ways, including having unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) or sharing needles. HIV can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth or through breast-feeding (www.cdc.gov).
Over the last thirty years, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic has matured. In the United States, HIV has changed from an explosive outbreak to an endemic disease; currently, an estimated 1.1 million people are infected with HIV, including a substantial number who are unaware of their status. HIV disease is a medical condition but it has never been just a medical condition. HIV disease is fraught with enormous social, political, economic, and psychiatric challenges (Wilson, et al). The nuances around HIV prevention, education, treatment, and care ...

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