AIDS: Research and Funding

AIDS: Research and Funding

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AIDS is slowly becoming the number one killer across the globe. Throughout numerous small countries, AIDS has destroyed lives, taken away mothers, and has left hopeless children as orphans. The problem remains that funding for the diseases’ medical research is limited to none. In the country Brazil, HIV/AIDS has been compared to the bubonic plague, one of the oldest yet, most deadly diseases to spread rapidly across Europe (Fiedler 524). Due to this issue, Brazil’s government has promised that everyone who has been diagnosed with either HIV or AIDS will receive free treatment; however, this treatment does not include help in purchasing HIV medications, that “carry astronomical price tags” (Fiedler 525). Generic drug companies have been able to produce effective HIV medications that are not as costly if compared to the prices given by the huge pharmaceutical companies. In contrast, the U.S. government has now intervened with these generic companies hindering them from making HIV medications, which may not be as efficient if made by the pharmaceutical companies. Not only are these drug companies losing thousands of dollars against generic drug companies, but also tremendous profit that is demanded for marketing these expensive drugs as well. “How many people must die without treatment until the companies are willing to lower their prices, or to surrender their patients so generic makers can enter market? (Fiedler 525).” With this question in mind, what ways can we eliminate the HIV/AIDS epidemic across the world? With research, education, testing, and funding we can prevent the spread of HIV to others and hopefully find a cure.

Everyday researchers have proposed new methods of how to control the HIV virus from turning into AIDS. A combination of effective HIV medicines help stop the formation of new copies of HIV as it reproduces in your body. This technique helps to keep your CD-4 cell count up and your viral load down. CD-4 cells are one type of immune cells that assist to fight off the virus, the higher your count the stronger your immune system (Nakashima 77). Whereas, your viral load is a measure of HIV in your blood and your treatment goal is to have the lowest viral load possible. People with higher viral loads tend to progress to AIDS and become sick sooner than those with lower viral loads (Nakashima 80). Successful HIV medications can prevent other infections common with AIDS and can help you live longer.

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People may not necessarily develop AIDS if diagnosed with HIV. Some people with HIV may live without signs of AIDS for 10 years or longer, especially if they are receiving correct treatment, while, others may start showing signs much sooner (Institute of Medicine). Research has proven that by having unprotected sex with a person who has HIV, the virus can be in an infected person’s blood, semen, or vaginal secretions and can enter your body through tiny cuts or sores in your skin, or in the lining of your vagina, penis, or rectum (Altman 25). Secondly, the usage of sharing needles or syringes to inject drugs, pierce a body part, make tattoos, or for any other reason are at risk of contracting the disease due to contact of blood. A third factor may occur from a blood transfusion or blood clotting issue that you got before 1985. Today, it is unlikely you could get infected that way because all blood in the United States has been tested for HIV since then (Altman 36). Finally, babies born to women with HIV/AIDS also can become infected during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. There are certain medicines that the pregnant mother can take from preventing her child from contracting the disease. Five times out of ten, a cesarean will be performed to lessen the chances of the baby to contract the disease because there will be no vaginal contact with the baby. This factor is determined upon how well your body is adjusting to the disease and working with the medications. Depending upon an infected mothers’ CD-4 count, pregnant women may have a vaginal delivery. Blood may also be found in breast milk, so doctors will not recommend breastfeeding to HIV positive mothers (Amaro 285). Researchers have also found that HIV can not be spread through the air or casual activities, such as: sitting next to someone, shaking hands, sharing food, using restrooms, swimming, or from hugging and kissing. It is safe to have casual contact with people who have HIV or AIDS. With this information we need to educate others and ourselves to know what further steps can be taken from becoming infected (Institute of Medicine).

Another way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is by educating others with statistics. This can help get the word on the street by allowing people to realize that this disease is real. Many foundations such as: Bebashi (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues), Closing the GAP, HIV/AIDS service Corps., and The National AIDS Foundation, are just a few HIV/AIDS organizations aimed towards helping those who are infected and providing helpful information to those who are not infected, as well. These foundations provide case management, treatment, insurance help, food, clothing, and housing to HIV/AIDS patients who need assistance. They also provide support groups and educate those who are infected to understand what is going on inside their body and what steps can be taken to live a longer and healthier life. Numerous health clinics provide pamphlets on HIV/AIDS and have free testing available.

An additional way to abolish the spread of this disease is by talking with a health care provider or counselor both before and after you are tested. You might have HIV and still feel perfectly healthy. Go to your doctor or a free health clinic to test for HIV antibodies. They can give you a confidential HIV test where they record only a number or code with the test result, not your name. This number is given at the time your blood, saliva, or urine is taken for the test. The number is used only when you return back to the testing site for your results. The sooner you know your results, the sooner you and your health-care provider can plan your treatment (Vermund 1186-88). For precise testing to be conducted, funding towards HIV/AIDS is the solution to end this deadly equation. Funding is received by various groups and organizations through donations and contributions. The AIDS walk is the number one event that helps provide funding towards medical research and other necessary needs in regards to the disease. On this day, thousands of people walk eight miles towards finding a cure. Many people come to symbolize a family member or love one who they may have lost in the battle, while others come to represent them; therefore, to show others that you are not in this fight alone. In order for us to spread the news and educate others, funding is a major key to gather the accurate information and research that is needed to find a cure or to help bring the number of HIV/AIDS cases down (Altman 55-60).

Overall, HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly across the world. The main causes of HIV infections are through unprotected sex, sharing needles, and the birth of a baby. Hopefully, by educating others we can get the knowledge out in the community of ways to prevent HIV/AIDS from spreading to others. Also, by educating HIV/AIDS patients we can assure them to live healthy and longer lives, as well as, offer proper medical treatment and resources that are available to them. If you think you may be infected the best thing to do is get tested, so you know what steps you will need to take next. Funding for HIV/AIDS is donated to many organizations and groups in efforts to aid infected patients with purchasing medicines, food, clothing, or other related medical needs. There is no cure for AIDS. Although everyday, researchers learn more and more about living with the virus. “We need to protect each other so we can bring our numbers down together. This can be accomplished by getting tested, knowing your status, and taking advantage of your options so that everyone can play they’re part to stop the spread of this disease. We have to be responsible for ourselves and know that a positive attitude and positive actions can improve the quality of life—for ourselves and for others (Johnson).”
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