AIDS Epidemic

AIDS Epidemic

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A minute has gone by; has anything changed?
You may not see a sudden change but in that minute,
six children became infected with HIV, which totals
8,500 children and young people becoming infected
with HIV a day. HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency virus.
A person who has HIV is susceptible to many different
diseases and viral infections, because the virus
gradually destroys the immune system.
Once a person becomes infected with HIV, they will
eventually enter the deadly last stage called AIDS.
AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
"It is characterized by signs and symptoms of severe
immune deficiency" (Yahoo 1).
AIDS has become a major problem facing children
today, because so many children have or will die from it.
Since a lot of children die from AIDS, it has become ranked
seventh among the leading cause of death for the United States
within the age range of one to fourteen. In the year 1996 the United
States had 7,629 cases of AIDS in children who are younger than thirteen
and 2,754 cases were reported within the young adult range of thirteen to
nineteen. In the same year (1996) it is estimated that 1.3 million children
died from AIDS. There are a lot of children being infected with and or
dying from AIDS as the year's progress. Startling projections about the
year 2000 have been made. The projections for the year 2000 are that five
to ten million children will be infected HIV/AIDS, and that same number
of children will be orphaned by it (The National 1).
Children are dying of HIV/AIDS because there is no cure yet to be found.
The only thing that can be done to help someone with HIV/AIDS is to
try and prolong the virus's deadly effects, so the person with AIDS can
hopefully live a longer life. The only way to prolong the virus is to
follow doctor's orders and take medications like AZT (A drug that helps people
with HIV/AIDS, by following this advice a person can only hope that it will help them.
So if there is no cure for HIV/AIDS than why do so many people contract it
knowing that they will eventually die? The reason older people contract AIDS
is usually because they are careless and have either unprotected sex or they use drugs.

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Today, slim amounts of older people contract it form blood transfusions, because when
the blood is received it is checked out thoroughly before given to the hospitals to use
in a transfusion. Children who contract HIV/AIDS usually contract it from one common way called perinatal
transmission. Perinatal transmission is when a mother gives the virus to the child before or during birth;
perinatal transmission causes an estimated 50 to 80% of HIV transmissions to children. Also an astonishing
25% of mothers with HIV/AIDS have passed the virus to their babies (The National 1).
Since there is no cure for HIV/AIDS than we need to band together to try to stop the
spread of AIDS. If we can help slow down and eventually stop the spread of AIDS,
than maybe more children will live longer lives and be able to live with both parents, instead of getting orphaned.

Yahoo, Health. (No date). AIDS [Online]. Available:
DS/#Definition [2000, April 23].

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (April 1997). Fact Sheet:
Pediatric AIDS [Online]. Available:
_article_5462583 [2000, April 23].
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