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Many eyebrows raised late in 1979, when the then unkown HIV virus raised its ugly head. The first two cases of the rare cancer, Karposis Sarcoma was diagnosed in two homosexual men in N>Y>C. About the same time in Los Angeles, several cases of the rare infection, Pneumocytis cariini pneumonia were being treated. Incidences of these strange diseases and infections were sky-rocketting around the country. The disease was effecting mostly young gay men in their 30's. There was no official name for the syndrome, but it was referred to by various names, GRID (gay related inmmune disease), Gay Cancer, and, "Community Acquired Syndrome". In 1982 public health officials began to use the term, Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease (AIDS) to describe the incidences of oppotunistic infections that caused AIDS. Scientists discovered the virus that caused AIDS in 1983 (HorowitzXV). According to Brennnan Durack, this was the dawning of AIDS epidemic, or the beginnning of the public's awareness of AIDS (Durack 385-386).
After becomin g infected with the HiV virus either by sexual activity, blood and blood products, needle sharing, mother to fetus, stage one begins. For the 4 to 8 weeks after being infected, the person may experience general flu-like symptoms. At this time blood levels of the virus are high in the blood and low in the lymph nodes. then the virus llies dormant. Stage two begins when the infected Helper T cell icalled on for an immune response, at this time the virus begins to replicate destroying the Helper T cells. B cells and T celss attempt to destroy the virus, but are unable to without the help of the Helper T cell, the very cell that is needed to help kill the virus. Stage three begins when the person begins to experience opportunistic infections, and THCD4 levels fall below 500 cells mm3. Full blown AIDS begins when the levels fall below 200 cells mm3, and patient has one or more opportunistic infections (Lintown Maebus 549).
HIV antibodies can be detected by a simple blood test, knowns Elisa (Enzyme Linked immunosorbent assay); they are considered to be 99% accurate, although some false positives do occus. Therefore, a second test, the Western Blot test is done to confirm the diagnosis of HIV The only infected patients who are not confirmed are those who are tested within the first few weeks of infection (Mirken 45).
Pneumocytis carinii pneumonia was the first opportunistic infection that Nancy, the character in It Happened to Nancy experienced (Sparks107), Normally, this disease infection is rare, but is quite common in the AIDS patient.
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Besides drug thereapy, nutrition is equally important in AIDS management. Maintaining a healthy diet with AIDS is a major concern, because the patient often has diarrhea, vommiting, due to the disease or the effects of the drugs. AIDS also effects the GI tract, making it hard for the body to absorb essential nutrients. General guidelines for HI V nutrition is similar to the food pyramid, although more protein is suggested foir muscle wasting, low fat is suggested as well, along with a good multivitamin. Safe handling is vital for the health of the infected person. Salmonella enteritidis is a risk for the HIV patient, to aboid this infection eggs should be boiled for at least seven minultes until hard, in addition, meats should be cooked until well done, all reaw foods hould be avoided, raw vegetables should be washed thouroughly. If a person is unable to attain their nutrients orally, enteral tube feeding may be necessary (Gianaro).
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