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Monday, March 19, 2012

Research Paper on AIDS

Research Paper on AIDS

Ever since AIDS was first reported officially in early 1980s, it has become known as the plague of the XX century. Only in 2007 it has taken away over 2.1 million lives (330,000 of them were children under 15 years). Over 33.2 million people (including 2.5 million children) live with the HIV, according to the last year statistics of the WHO. And the virus does not stop, moreover – it continues to infect new people – in 2007, an estimated 1.8 to 4.1 million people (including 420,000 children).

As for the situation in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes around 1.2 million residents have either HIV infection or AIDS, and at least 25% of them are not aware of this terrifying fact. Every year over 40.000 people are getting infected (approximately three-forth are men, the rest are women, especially young ones).

Young people tend to underestimate their chances of getting HIV, but then it is too late. One should remember that HIV and AIDS are incurable, and once you get infected there is no way back. So it is easier to protect oneself than to support vital functions for the rest of the life (which will not last long if you are HIV-infected and especially if you already have AIDS).
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AIDS is being heatedly discussed globally. Piles of information on this pandemic are being distributed worldwide, and still, people continue to get infected.

What are the reasons for such a state of actions? Why is the virus so powerful and mass? What should one do to avoid getting infected? And what is the course of actions if that was unavoidable? All these questions will be covered in the following parts of this paper. Let us now get more into the essence of AIDS, its meaning and the major characteristics.

What does AIDS mean?
The acronym AIDS stands for acquired (meaning you can get infected with it) immune deficiency (inability of the body’s system to fight diseases) syndrome (a group of health problems that cause a disease).

You will most probably be surprised to know that there is no such illness as AIDS, and still, people with AIDS die within a short term (mostly from the so-called opportunistic infections – various viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria like Candidiasis (Thrush), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Herpes simplex viruses, Malaria Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC or MAI), Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), Toxoplasmosis (Toxo), or Tuberculosis (TB), etc.

You do not get AIDS if you are not infected with an HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, first. But if you are, the body system will eventually try to fight the infection through making "antibodies". The presence of these molecules in the blood is a sign of an HIV infection, and who have them are called "HIV-Positive" but it is not equal to having AIDS. One may be HIV-positive but continue living for many years. Two types of HIV infect humans: HIV-1 and HIV-2, while the former is more virulent, more easily transmitted and caused the majority of HIV infections worldwide.

AIDS is the peak of the HIV-infection. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus in action means your immune system is under attack, and the viruses and parasites that would otherwise not cause any inconveniences, may severely harm you if you are HIV-positive, the virus harms almost every organ. An HIV-positive person is at a greater risk of developing fatal diseases, like cancer. And if a relatively healthy (HIV-negative) person has cancer he or she might get cured or live for substantial period of time, an HIV-positive (developing AIDS) person with cancer might die within several months, because the body is unable to fight against the attackers of the immune system.

The healthiness of the immune system is counted in CD4 cells. Starting from 1993, the Centers for Disease Control determine people with AIDS as all HIV positive people with a CD4+ T cell count below 200 per ┬ÁL of blood.

Transmission
HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through: blood (it has the highest concentration of virus), vaginal secretions (fluids), semen (the second highest concentration) and even breast milk.

Saliva, sweat, tears, urine and feces are not infectious.

You may get infected with HIV through an unprotected sexual contact, direct blood contact, including injection drug needles, blood transfusions, mother to baby (before or during pregnancy, birth, or through breast feeding – the breast milk contains HIV of an infected mother).

The above-stated ways of getting HIV are estimated to be high to extremely high risks if getting the devastating virus of human immunodeficiency. So, as they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Testing
It usually takes up to two months (sometimes more) for the immune system to produce antibodies to HIV, so there is no use testing straight after being exposed to the treat of getting HIV. Still, one should keep in might he or she might transmit the virus to others in case of HIV-infection being in force.

Antibody testing for HIV at 3 and 6 months after possible exposure will detect almost all the infections, and the test results are 99.5% accurate.

With children born to HIV-positive mothers the case for testing is much more complicated: they may have false positive test results for several months because mothers pass infection-fighting antibodies to their newborn children.

HIV testing is performed at any Public Health office or at the private doctor’s office. The Home Access test kit enables to collect a sample of your blood that might be forwarded to a laboratory for testing. You can get tested anonymously, but in case the results are positive and the treatment takes place, the name of the infected person may be reported to the Department of Health. The track of the HIV-positive patients is kept confidential.

The most common HIV test is a blood test and the results are usually available in a fortnight. There also are newer "Rapid" HIV test (mouth fluid or urine). The results are available within 30 minutes.

A positive result should definitely be confirmed with a second test. In the US there is the National AIDS Hotline available for those seeking help or information concerning the HIV/AIDS issue.

A positive test result does not mean that you have AIDS. If you test positive, you should learn more about HIV and decide how to take care of your health.

Treatment
There is no vaccine or cure for either HIV or AIDS.

Highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, is the most common current treatment for HIV infection. Introduced in 1996, HAART has become the stabilizer that prolongs thousands of lives worldwide. Highly active antiretroviral therapy does not cure HIV, at it does not even alleviate the symptoms, and moreover, some types of viruses are HAART resistant. Still, it is the only truly helpful medication available. If HIV is not treated, it will take some ten years for the virus to become AIDS, and then in less than a year the patient ceases.

After a highly significant exposure, a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is being conducted. It is an antiretroviral treatment lasting approximately a month and having unpleasant side effects (like diarrhea, nausea, etc.)

Daily multivitamin and mineral supplements are also useful for support of an infected person because it prolongs the time before HAART is required for the patient.

Among the main reasons for the AIDS to spread quickly around the world is the poor access to medical care, inadequate social supports, psychiatric disease and drug abuse among the HIV-positive patients.

Prevention
The only known methods of prevention are based on avoiding exposure to the virus. The main ways of adhering to this practice are avoiding unprotected sexual relations and exposure to the infected body fluids (the latter refers to intravenous drug users sharing syringes, health care workers, and recipients of blood transfusions and blood products). Remember that HIV may be caused even by using an infected needle for piercing or a tattoo.

Nearly all people infected with HIV through blood transfusions received those transfusions before 1985, which was only a couple years after AIDS was officially recognized.

In the late 1980 the HIV test of the donated blood has become possible. Nowadays, the U.S. blood supply is among the safest in the world. Still, there are cases of getting HIV-infection through the blood transfusions, especially in the third world countries, where the levels of such infections are still extremely high. During a sexual act, only condoms can reduce the chances of infection with HIV and other STDs.

It is obvious that will all the inconveniences and devastating effects caused by the HIV, it is easier to prevent getting infected then wasting the lifetime trying to fight the unavoidable.

Of course having HIV does not necessarily mean having AIDS, but the immune system is not perpetual. It will eventually lose the power and any disease may become fatal.

The aim of all the organizations and unions fighting the HIV/AIDS is the informational support of the individuals and the raise of awareness about the problem. But there is nothing they can do if you do not take care of yourself and protect your health and the health of your family for the sake of the future generations.

You can also help people who have AIDS by making a donation or supporting WHO initiatives worldwide. It is wrong to reject, discriminate or avoid HIV-positive people. In many countries compulsory HIV testing (without prior consent or protection of confidentiality) and even violence against HIV infected individuals takes place. And this violence or the fear of violence prevents people from HIV testing or returning for their results. Some of them do not use any treatment, trying to hide the fact or getting revengeful and continuing the spread of HIV.

Globally there are numerous cases of getting infected as a result of physical or sexual violence, when the victim was unable to avoid getting the virus. That is why HIV-positive people do not deserve being treated improperly. On the contrary, they should be supported and taken care of while they fight for their health and life.

Help the world overcome this devastating disease: act and protect yourself and your relatives. Do not forget nobody is safe. Do not think some higher force will protect you. Your health and even your life are in your own hands.
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Warning!!! All free online research papers, research paper samples and example research papers on AIDS topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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