SOS 313: Social Implications of Medical Issues Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Its Deadly Effects Deanna Swinford March 14, 2010
Over the past few decades Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection & Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention strategies has focused on helping high risk individuals including individuals uninfected with HIV. The responsibility of National programs is to inform the public regarding prevention strategies, identify priorities, plan, and implement disease prevention strategies. It’s common knowledge all over the world that HIV infection is the leading cause of death. “Human immunodeficiency virus HIV and AIDS remain the leading causes of illness and death in the United States. As of December 2004, an estimated 944,306 persons had received a diagnosis of AIDS, and of these 529,113 (56%) had died” (Center for Disease Control, 2010). “Approximately 40,000 new cases of HIV infection occur each year and 40 million people worldwide are now living with HIV” (Falvo, 2010, pg. 318). Everyone knows, or should be aware that there’s no way to restore their damaged immune system, and no cure for HIV, nor for AIDS. Advances in medical systems today have shown improved life expectancy. “Since 1995, the number of deaths from AIDS in the United States has declined so significantly that HIV/AIDS is no longer treated as a terminal illness but rather as a chronic condition to be managed” (Falvo, 2010, pg. 318). “A virus is an infectious organism that cannot grow or reproduce outside living cells. To survive, it must enter a living cell and use the reproductive capacity of that cell for its own replication. Consequently, when a virus enters a cell, it instructs the cell to reproduce the virus” (Falvo, 2010, pg. 313). Normally the body recognizes these as foreign, this is how a healthy immune system is suppose to work, as I remember from anatomy and physiology, then will destroy the foreign cells. Some will remain dormant, sometimes for long periods of time, and without causing problems, but still will remain in our body with other cells and can replicate at any time. “HIV infection is caused by a retrovirus called HIV. A retrovirus uses a complicated process called reverse transcription to reproduce itself. This process uses a viral enzyme called reverse transcriptase to integrate the virus’s genetic material into the other cells. HIV essentially takes over these cells—primarily the CD4 cells to produce more HIV. They multiply extremely rapidly and some errors caused by this rapid generation of ells are not corrected, so there are constant mutations of the virus. Some of the cells containing the virus burst, releasing HIV directly into the blood stream. Consequently, there can be both infected cells and virus in the blood traveling to other sites” (Falvo, 2010, pg. 313). This rapid generation of cells explain why some patients who may have been somewhat stable, then they rapidly deteriorate or their medications do not seem to work anymore. The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary depending on the phase of the infection. “Early infection—when first infected with HIV, you may have no signs or symptoms at all, although it’s more common to develop a brief flu-like illness two to four weeks after becoming infected. Signs and symptoms may include: * Fever
* Sore throat
* Swollen lymph glands
Even if you don’t have symptoms, you’re still able to transmit the virus to others. Once the virus enters your body, your immune system also comes under attack. The virus multiplies in your lymph nodes and slowly begins to destroy your helper T cells (CD4 lymphocytes) ---the white blood cells that coordinate your entire immune system” (Mayo clinic, 2010).
In my opinion,...