HIV/AIDS: The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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Few things are as devastating as disease or terminal illness. Several diseases have made an appearance or re-emergence over the last couple of decades – HIV being among the most prevalent and devastating. HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, “is a chronic infectious disease passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood or sexual contact” (Hoeger, Hoeger, Hoeger, & Fawson, 2015). HIV was originally formed in chimpanzees in Central Africa, and spread to humans through infected blood (What is HIV/AIDS?, 2015). Once the virus has entered into the body, it replicates and attacks and kills white blood cells. This causes a drastic decrease of the body’s ability to fight of infection.
The low immune system presence leaves plenty of
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This can make the disease undetectable and this stage can last for several decades (Symptoms of HIV, 2015). HIV can still be transmitted in this stage. If left untreated, the HIV progresses into AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the late stages of the HIV virus. Symptoms include rapid weight loss, recurring fever, extreme fatigue, continual swelling of the lymph glands, body sores, colored blotches under the skin, memory loss, neurological disorders, and recurring infection (Symptoms of HIV, 2015). These symptoms may be attributed to other illnesses and testing should take place before concluding the origin of infection.
AIDS can prove to be lethal. The body cannot fight against infections and may result in death. In the U.S., the CDC estimated that 1,218,400 people over the age of 13 are living with HIV and almost 13% are unaware they are infected (U.S. Statistics, 2014). Overall death from aids in the U.S. total around 658,507, with 13,712 dying in the year 2012. In the U.S., the most affected are those who partake in male on male sexual activity and African Americans suffer more from the disease than
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It ravages the body and makes it almost impossible to fight infections. The virus is quick to adapt and can become drug resistant quickly, making medication tricky. The stigma forces a host of unfortunate social consequences. However, with the advent of genetic modification the virus might be cured within the next couple of generations. In time, humans may never have to fear the disease as we become genetically immune to it. Through advances in medicine and the spread of the necessary resources, HIV has begun to decline (Global Statistics, 2015). One can only hope this virus will no longer be prevalent in the

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