Hiv And The United States Essay

Hiv And The United States Essay

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By the end of 2012, there were more than 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. However, out of those 1.2 million people, almost 1 in 8 (12.8%) of them do not even know that they are infected. Although the number of new HIV infections have remained rather stable throughout the years, the number is still too high, at around 50,000 new infections annually. (CDC, 2015) As of July 2015, an estimated number of 658,507 people whom were diagnosed with AIDS have died in the United States. (CDC, 2015)
Scientists discovered that the original source of HIV was from a type of chimpanzee located in West Africa. They believe that when humans hunted their meat, they came into contact with the chimpanzee’s blood. This blood was infected with their own version of the virus and it was inevitably transmitted to humans, where it was believed to have mutated into the form of HIV we know today. This virus slowly spread across Africa and then into other parts of the world over decades. (CDC, 2015)
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that affects specific cells of the human immune system, called CD4 cells, or more commonly known as T-cells. The primary responsibility of these cells are to fight off infections and disease in the body. However, unlike some more common viruses such as influenza, the human body is incapable of eliminating the HIV infection. So in other words, once you acquire HIV, you will have it for your entire lifetime.
When HIV attacks the CD4 cells, it clones itself multiple times, and then ultimately destroys the cells altogether. Over time, the virus will eliminate and destroy so many of these important immunity cells that the human body will be unable to fight off infections and disease on...

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...people living with it worldwide. (WHO, 2015) Approximately 19 million of those 35 million don’t even know that they are HIV positive. (UNAIDS, 2014) As of today, the World Health Organization estimates that a total of 39 million people have died since it was discovered in 1981. (WHO, 2015) Although the statistics for the new infection rates show no big spike, it shows no great decline either. In fact, at this rate, the growth rate of the overall number of infected individuals is slowly increasing. The annual increase of 50,000 new HIV infections is no small number. Contracting HIV/AIDS is alarming itself, but it is even more alarming because there is still no cure for it. However, with the proper knowledge, interventions, and help, this can be treated and controlled to significantly increase not only the health, but the life expectancy of those living with HIV/AIDS.

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