We Must Find a Cure for AIDS
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individuals, but it also infecting our society. Until a cure is reach
it will continue to plague human society. No person will ever be truly
safe. Our government needs to keep spending money on research to
develop a cure for AIDS.
To fully understand why our government should continue to spend its
funds on AIDS research one must first understand AIDS. No one actually
knows where AIDS comes from. Americans say that it originated in
Africa. Africans say that the Europeanours brought it to Africa. AIDS
got its first documented case as late back as the 1950's on the
African continent. Africa has more documented cases than any where in
the world. Scientist predict that three out of every ten sexually
active people in Africa carry the AIDS virus. AIDS has become a threat
to entire communities there. Scientist believe that the spread of the
disease is almost entirely by heterosexual activity, since the amount
of male and female infection are about equal. AIDS is a disease that
can be spread through traveling. At first the disease was only in
North America and Africa. It is now spreading all over the world.
Although there are not as many cases of Aids in America as Africa the
disease still exist at an alarming rate. AIDS was not discovered in
America until 1981 and not given a name until 1984. In America AIDS is
mainly a disease that plagues white males. It seems that most cases of
AIDS are due to homosexuality and drug use. When people use drugs that
use syringes, such as heroin or steroids they are at high risk. When
one person uses a syringe and then gives it to another person they are
sharing their blood. AIDS spreads faster among drug abuses that any
other group because they are often careless with their needles
(Taylor,6). Unfortunately these are not the only ways a person can
contract AIDS. AIDS can also be brought on by heterosexual activities,
with or with out intercourse being involved.
In fact AIDS among
teenagers in quickly becoming an at risk group. If there is a cut on
or in the anus, vagina, penis, or mouth the disease, if present, will
be spread. People can also contract AIDS through blood transfusions
and during surgeries involving donor body parts including blood. It
wasn't until 1985 that blood was rigorously tested for the presents of
HIV and other diseases. This test helped people who were hemophiliacs
out very much. These are people that have a blood disorder that needs
to be treated by regular blood transfusions. Even though it is now
very rare to get AIDS through a transfusion it can and will happen to
some one. A person can even be born with AIDS because their mother had
the disease. Any profession that works with blood is also at risk.
This leaves doctors, nurses, dentist, and eye doctors. AIDS can be
found in saliva, tears, semen, blood, and vaginal secretions. Women,
men, children; White or black; rich or poor; young or old; any person
can get AIDS (Taylor 32).
What this disease does to a person is easily explained, but not easily
understood. AIDS is a very dangerous disease. HIV its self can not
kill a person, but it is usually another infection like pneumonia that
kills the victim. The HIV virus, which causes AIDS, likes blood. Human
blood is the most ideal place for this virus to sustain its life. The
HIV virus must actually enter directly into the blood stream to be
able to cause any sort of damage. That is why AIDS can only contracted
through bodily fluids because they are direct doorways to the blood
stream. The weird part is that just because a person has HIV does not
mean that they will contract AIDS. HIV and AIDS are not the same
disease. If a person does contract AIDS after contracting HIV this
means that person will die from the disease and it's side effects.
What AIDS does to a person is rather interesting. AIDS stands for
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Acquired means that a person must
usually contract the disease. Immunodefieciency is a compound word.
The first word is immuno. This word refers to a person's immune
system, the part that fights off infectious diseases. When a person is
immune to a disease that means their immune system will fight off an
infection before it makes one sick. Deficiency refers to the lacking
of something. So when these words are put together they means that a
person's immune system is not working properly and they can get sick
much easier than before. A syndrome is a set of symptoms associated
with a particular infection. AIDS is not distinguished by the virus
that causes it but more by the effects that are associated with it.
HIV and AIDS are caused by microscopic semiliving organisms called
viruses. When viruses are outside the human body they are just tissue
and when they are inside a body they become living organisms. A virus
grows the best in inside of a cell. They live off of the cell's
protein. Eventually the virus will destroy the cell and it must move
on to a new cell in order for it to survive. HIV adds an akward twist
to this little cycle. HIV targets the immune system . HIV hunts down a
cell called the T cell helper. Without this cell the T cell does not
know what to look for and it becomes useless. B cells do not know what
they should attack. Basically the body does not even know that there
is an invader present. HIV by itself does not kill, but it leaves the
body open and vulnerable to other infections. These type of infections
are often referred to as opportunist infections. To a normal person
they can easily be fought off, but to a AIDS victim they mean death.
AIDS itself is not a disease it is a disease that along with HIV kill
a person . Two examples of AIDS diseases are Kaposi's sarcomo, a skin
cancer, and Pneumocystis carinii, which is a rare form of pneumonia
(Taylor15). A person with out AIDS would not even have to worry about
these diseases since they are so rare among people without HIV.
AIDS can be slowed down. There is a medicine that can be given to a
person with AIDS that will slow down the process of their death Three
of these drugs are Interferon, Interleukin, and ATZ. ATZ is an
especially effective drug. It will keep a person alive for the rest of
their lives. ATZ is a blue and white pill that must be taken together
ever four hours in a twenty four hour day. Unfortunately this drug is
expensive. Some people can spend up to 10,000 dollars annually to keep
them selves alive(Taylor 50). This gives many the hope that a cure for
AIDS may be discover before their time is up. Hopefully this will
happen and many lives will be saved. One good thing about AIDS is that
it is easily preventable for people who practice good health and have
a decent amount of common sense. Now there are several ways that have
made receiving and giving blood much safer. When a person gives blood
the corporation that takes the blood can test it for AIDS. This
testing is useful in two ways. It can first determine whether or nor
the blood is infected with the AIDS virus which is very important to
anyone who is going to receive this blood. It can also determine if
that person is infected. If that person is infected they can be
informed so they will consciously try not to infect any other person
with the deadly AIDS virus. Another precaution that is used it that
all blood is boiled at 133 degrees Fahrenheit. The AIDS virus by
itself is very fragile. It can not withstand temperatures above 132
degrees Fahrenheit. So if blood is boiled at 133 degrees it will
eliminate AIDS and most any other dangerous virus that may be
inhabiting the blood. These processes assure society that they are
getting safe blood. This is a major step in AIDS prevention that is
relatively fool proof(Kurland 30). If a person wants to make sure that
they do not get infected blood they can do one major thing. Giving
ones own blood and putting it into a blood bank for later use is a
major step in AIDS prevention. A person never knows when they may need
surgery or a blood transfusion(Taylor 39).
The next way to practice AIDS prevention is to get blood test before
marriage. Now that blood test are mandatory before getting a legal
marriage licence it is very important to receive one with ones spouse.
A blood test can determine whether or not either parties carries the
AIDS virus. This can save a child's life. If the mother has AIDS then
the child will probably have AIDS. It is not fair to that child if it
is born with a disease it had no choice in getting. The child did not
ever contribute to the mother contracting it. One day it is hoped that
if the mother has AIDS a medicine can be given, the disease be
terminated, and then a marriage licence being issued. Some people find
that mandatory blood testing before a marriage licence is issued is
invasion of privacy. On the contrary it violates no civil right. Blood
testing has been around for many years. Until recently it did not test
for AIDS. If a person voluntarily takes the test then it does not
violate any civil right(Kurland 30).
Drug Abuse is another area that could use a lot of AIDS awareness. The
general drug addict is not a higher class citizen. Often the funds for
safe syringes is not there. Often the drug addicts are not taught much
drug awareness. It is very important that the risks of AIDS among drug
users is verbalized and printed through out communities. When a person
knowing puts a needle into their arm that has been used it is like
playing Russian Roulette. It is only a matter of time before the gun
goes off and kills that person. Most communities have drug abuse
programs. These programs help drug addicts overcome their sickness.
Often it is the first step that keeps many abusers out. It is very
difficult for them to admit they hat acts as a barrier between bodies
and bodily fluids. It help keep women from getting pregnant and it
helps keep both parties from contacting sexual transmitted
diseases(Taylor 37-38). Also it has become clear that promiscuous
behavior can lead to contracting AIDS. When a person has sex with
multiple partners their personal risks of contracting AIDS increases
greatly. Often in the male homosexual communities recreational sex is
practiced. This means meaningless sex with partners that are not
always known. It would be very difficult to ask humans to stop having
sex. If this was done in the homosexual communities, both male and
female, all venerial and genital disease would have disappeared years
ago. Unfortunately if humans were forced to stop having intercourse it
would also cause the human race to stop reprocriating. This would
cause a severe decrease in population and no one would be around to
even consider the problem. Keeping away from prostitutes is another
good way to keep away from AIDS. Since the virus seems to frequent
prostitutes it would seem almost ignorant to frequent them. Even so
people do go to prostitutes. Since it seems unlikely that the
prostitutes would have their medical records on them it is a leap of
faith to have intercourse with one( Kurland 32-33).
Often medical workers find themselves at risk of contracting AIDS
since they work with blood. If contaminated blood happens to be
touched and finds a small cut or abrasions then that medical
professional has contracted the virus by blind dumb luck. One way the
medical field goes about preventing AIDS is by wearing latex glove.
These gloves are basically condoms for hands. Also when a medical
worker is dealing with a patient that is in the late stages of the
virus they will wear goggles over their eyes incase of
coughing(Kurland 34). Medical workers should take all wound serious,
even if they are small. There is a simple three step process that they
should go about doing when they come into contact with anothers blood.
1.) Let the would bleed for a while. This will allow the infection to
be washed away. 2.) Treat the wound with soap and water or any other
disinfectant that kills germs. Fortunately away from blood the HIV
virus is very weak. Any disinfectant kills is. 3.) See a doctor and
tell him or her what happened.
There are also six ways basic ways a person can keep them selves safe
from AIDS. 1.) Practice safe sex. Always use a condom. It is okay to
say no to sex.
2.) Never use drugs. Especially ones with needles.
3.) Eat well. Maintain a well balanced diet.
4.) Exercise. This keeps the immune system active and healthy.
5.) Keep clean. Practicing good hygiene will keep a person safe from
6.) Think positively about ones self. It can actually help when it
come to peer pressure associated with drugs and sex( Taylor 41-42).
The final question that must be answered is why should the United
States government pay for the research and development of AIDS. Right
now in the United States scientist are searching for the cure for AIDS
in hospitals, universities, and government centers. These people need
the funding that our government sends to them. With out it they can
not conduct the high tech. experiments that they conduct. These
scientist are looking for a vaccine. A vaccine is generally an
injection that helps the immune system develop antibodies that defends
the body from organisms that re on the attack. A vaccine is a medicine
that is composed of germs or bacteria. It is very difficult to find a
magical cure that will only knock off the infected cells and not the
living. Right now the only ways scientist and doctors know how to get
rid of the virus is to get rid of all of the cells, infected or not.
Unfortunately this can kill a person(Taylor 49). There are
approximately one AIDS related deaths every twelve minutes in the
United States. Yet there continue to be arguments in our nation that
there is too much being spent on AIDS research and development. People
think that billion dollar budgets are spent on military actions
mainly. On the contrary billions of dollars are spent on medical
research and care. Out of these billions medical provisions to
elderly, veterans, and the poor are taken. The rest is left for other
organizations and AIDS research is only one of the hundreds that
receive this money. Through the governmental grants much progress is
made. The question that is often asked is where does AIDS sit on the
list of priorities? Does it really deserve as much funding as it gets?
Cost alone should not be what keeps the research of AIDS from being a
national priority. Research on this virus is just as important as any
other research being conducted today in our country. The delay on such
research will not only prevent a vaccine from be created, but it will
also cause greater amount of money to be spent in the future.
Inflation will eventually become an issue. The people who contract
AIDS will only increase in numbers. At risk categories will also only
increase. AIDS will not go away. In the history of medicine only small
pox has been illuminated. AIDS research is not something that a fixed
sum of money can be thrown at and hope for a cure. As the medicine
progresses so will the cost. The cost of AIDS research is exponential.
That must be remembered when the government considers how much money
would be spent on it. AIDS must be treated as a disease that will be
around for a long time if not forever. " Hesitation by the U.S.
government to carry out necessary HIV research would be criminal." -
HIV remains a highly lethal communicable disease. Despite increased
medical management the number of AIDS victims continues to rise each
year. Hospital are forced to increase the care and time the spend on
making sure nothing in contaminated. Hospitals are also forced to care
for more and more AIDS patients. This increases the risks they must
take with the disease. If HIV research continues to be a lower
priority in our country's priorities it will be the gay men and women,
needle users, sexual partners, and their children who will suffer the
price of our negligence to disease control. All men are created equal
no matter their life styles. Who should be sentenced to death for a
mistake that was made(Daniel 62-70).
In 1991 271, 000 people are estimated to have AIDS. of these people
54,000 are estimated to not make in another year. 54,000 people is
more than all of the American deaths in World War I and Vietnam War
combined. This number is also only an estimate. There could be many
more people with the disease that do not even know it yet(Check 69).
If a cure is not reach soon the deaths will not they will only
continue. We need our government to continue its efforts at finding a
cure. No person should rest until the cure is reached and dispersed
around the globe to every corner and slum, no matter how far away.
Works cited page
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The News Enterprise. 28 September, 1999. Sec 1:1.
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