HIV Transmitted from Mother to Child

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All over the world, innocent children are dying from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Although it is most commonly known as a sexually transmitted disease, HIV can be transmitted from mother to child as well. HIV is a virus which attacks the T cells or CD4 cells, which are white blood cells required by the body to fight infections and diseases (Piot and Quinn). HIV uses these cells to make copies of itself and then destroys them. Over time, HIV attacks so many T cells that the body does not have the ability to fight infections and diseases. This can lead to AIDS, which is the final stage of HIV. One example of an illness developed in people with HIV is Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), which is a fungul infection of the lungs. Symptoms include a dry cough, a fever, rapid breathing, and shortness of breath. Other effects of the disease include frequent colds, ear infections, upset stomachs, and chronic diarrhea.
HIV and AIDS first started to appear in the United States in the late seventies. No one in the government or the medical profession had any idea how this disease would change the life and life expectancy of thousands of people all over the country. Sexual lifestyles completely changed in the U.S. because of the AIDS outbreak. People are no longer able to have several intimate relationships before marriage without the fear of contracting this death threatening virus (Kübler-Ross 29). In the 1980’s, HIV and AIDS were considered to be “gay diseases”, meaning they could only be contracted by gay men. This conception was proven to be false when children were born with the disease because their mother contracted it.
Mother to child transmission of HIV occurs when a woman infected with HIV transmits the virus to her baby ...

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Piot, Peter, M.D., Ph.D., and Thomas C. Quinn, M.D. “Response to the AIDS Pandemic – A Global Health Model.” The New England Journal of Medicine. 6 June 2013. 18 March 2014. .
Pregnancy and Childbirth.” 25 January 2012. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 18 March 2014. .
Ryan, Benjamin. “Vaginal Ring Prevents HIV and Pregnancy.” POZ. March 2014. 18 March 2014. .
“Two Children Diagnosed at Birth Test HIV Negative after Very Early Treatment.” 5 March 2014. San Francisco AIDS Foundation. 18 March 2014.

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