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The Facts about HIV & AIDS

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 768
  • Category: Aids Hiv

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After working in the healthcare field for a few years, I have come to the disturbing conclusion that there are still so many of us that have no knowledge of this deadly epidemic that’s spreading across the U. S.. This disease is called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome commonly known as AIDS. AIDS is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as HIV. This disease is one of the leading causes of death in America, and yet there are more than 56,000 Americans infected with the HIV virus each year.

In some way we have all been affected by this AIDS epidemic, whether we have lost a close friend , relative or even a neighbor, this disease does not discriminate and no one is exempt from contracting it. So why do we fail to educate ourselves about this virus/disease and what are some ways to prevent ourselves from becoming infected. There are so many ways to get this disease and not a lot of people know about these ways.

Some people believe that abstinence is the only way to prevent one’s self from contracting the HIV virus, this is not the case. Abstinence is a way of preventing the disease, but there are still other ways the disease can be transmitted . A person can develop the virus from performing oral sex on someone that is infected, if that person has an open sore on that part of the body, this is called a contraction through a mucous membrane. Drug use is a very common way to get the virus, for example sharing needles with an infected person.

Although there have been some people that have been intravenous drug users for years and think they are free from getting the disease, this is also a misconception , many people have had the disease for years without being diagnosed or without even knowing they are infected. This is why it is very important to get yourself tested every six months. Blood transfusions are another common way that HIV/AIDS can be contracted, even though many people are unaware of this.

Statistics say the risk of getting HIV through blood transfusions from HIV- tainted blood is 9 out of every 10 exposures. So according to medical experts this way is very likely (Dr. Frascino, Robert, The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation). Although true people are more likely to be screened more thoroughly for the virus now, whereas before in earlier days they weren’t. Finally the last known way HIV/AIDS is transmitted is from mother -to-baby.

Many women are infected with this disease, As a matter of fact “at the end of 2008,, it was estimated that out of 31. 3 million adults worldwide living with HIV and AIDS around half of them are woman” (“This epidemic unfortunately remains an epidemic of women. ” – Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS), and so these women go on to have babies without seeking proper care, and their babies are being born with this Virus. This can be prevented.

A woman who has just been diagnosed with HIV virus has a chance to gain access to certain antiviral medications that will decrease the chance of the virus being passed on to the baby before, during and after birth. After the birth of the baby, the mother is encouraged not to breastfeed because HIV can be transmitted through the breast milk as well. Because of these newly found medications the number of babies infected from mother-to-baby transmissions has dramatically dropped from 954 in 1992 to just 101 in 2001.

In conclusion, why do we fail to educate ourselves about this Virus/Disease when we know it can have the potential to be fatal; maybe like the countless other individuals ( approximately 1. 1 million people in the U. S. who are infected to date), people think it could never happen to them, one in five of these people are infected and have not even been diagnosed yet. I believe people do not fear this disease anymore because of the new medications that exist that slows the progression of HIV from developing into AIDS.

Approximately 550,000 people have lost their lives to this disease as of 2005 ( Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Maybe they are unaware of the many ways this disease can be transmitted , such as through Intravenous drug use, unprotected sex, through blood transfusions or transmissions from Mother-to-Baby. Until we begin to take this disease seriously, every nine-and-a-half minutes another person will become infected with HIV. HIV/AIDS will remain one of the leading causes of death in the United States and there is still no known cure for this virus/disease .

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