HIV and AIDS: The Epidemic

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HIV and AIDS have affected millions of people throughout the world. Since 1981, there have been 25 million deaths due to AIDS involving men, women, and children. Presently there are 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS around the world and two million die each year from AIDS related illnesses. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one-third of the one million Americans living with HIV are not aware that they have it. The earliest known case of HIV was in 1959. It was discovered in a blood sample from a man in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Looking further into the genetics of this blood sample researchers suggested that it had originated from a virus going back to the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. In 1999, researchers had discovered that HIV is derived from chimpanzees native to west equatorial Africa. This epidemic is spreading throughout countries and infecting 14 thousand victims every day. Learning about HIV includes knowing how to contract the virus, understanding most of the people it affects, how to prevent the spread of it, and knowing what treatments are available. HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a progressive disease that attacks and weakens the immune system causing the HIV-positive person to become more susceptible to any ailments and infections. Human Immunodeficiency Virus is caused by the transfer of bodily functions including blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions. Sex, including oral, vaginal, and anal, is the most common way of obtaining HIV. It can also be acquired by injecting a needle into your body that was used by someone who has HIV. The virus cannot be spread through the air or though food and water. You also cannot contract the virus from shaking a HIV-posit... ... middle of paper ... ...trive to live normal lives. Scientists also struggle to create a vaccine to get rid of HIV permanently. It is an important live saving decision to practice safe sex or abstinence and also to avoid the using needles to inject drugs. Bibliography DHH-Office of Public Health. Facts about HIV and AIDS. South Deerfield: Channing Bete Company, 2002. Print American Social Health Association. Condoms, Contraceptives, and STIs. Research Triangle Park: American Social Health Association, Ink, 2007. Print. DHH-Office of Public Health. Young and Gay Protect Yourself from HIV. Santa Cruz: Journeyworks, 1998. Print. U.S. Department of Health and Services. HIV Vaccines Explained. NIH Publication, 2006. Print. Hiatt, Jane. Abstinence & HIV. ETR Associates, 1992. Print. AIDS & HIV Information from the AIDS Charity AVERT. Web. 29 July 2010. .
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