Catherine L. Smith
Social Implications of Medical Issues: SOC 313
AIDS RESEARCH PAPER
Instructor: Deborah Tremblay
January 24, 2011
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, better known as AIDS, is the final stage of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Scientists believe that HIV came from a particular type of chimpanzee in Western Africa. It is also thought that humans came in contract with the disease when hunting and eating the infected animal. (www.aids.gov, January 2011). The first case of AIDS in the United States occurred in the summer of 1981. Over the next several years there was a lot of research done on the cause of this disease and where it originated from. While when the disease first surfaced there were several people living with the disease that did not know they had it. Now today over 33 million people suffer from the disease. Although AIDS is a disease with no cure and will result in death there are several medications that have been developed over the past twenty plus years that provide those infected with a way to live a normally.
The first outbreak of AIDS in the U.S. was reported in several gay, therefore causing the assumption that the disease was a gay disease. At the time it was called “GIRD”, (gay-related immune deficiency.) (www.about.com, January 2011) due to all of the first outbreaks being found in gay males. By 1983 the disease is renamed by scientist as the HIV. Later on the disease would be found in heterosexuals, drug addicts, and people who received blood transfusions proving that the disease is not just a disease that can be contracted by those participating in homosexual activities.
By the mid eighties the disease is seen more in the public eye as it begins to affect more and more people. Around this time if becomes more familiar to the world when the famous actor Rock Hudson dies from the disease. Also around the same time a young boy infected with the disease is banned from his school. In this early time when the disease is first discovered and is killing many people and very rapidly there are a lot of misconceptions of the disease and how it is spread and who can actually get it.
As more research is conducted all of the different ways the disease can be contracted are learned. The disease is now known to be contracted from sexual contact (either heterosexually or homosexually) through the use of dirty needles by drug addicts and through blood transfusions that use blood that has been infected by the virus. The virus is carried through bodily fluids such as, blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucous and even breast milk. Although the disease may be transmitted through many bodily fluids it can not be transmitted through all bodily fluids such as tears or urine.
One must first have the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) before the acquire AIDS. HIV weakens the immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. (www.aids.gov, January 2011) Although HIV can be described to other viruses such as the flu, the difference is that HIV can not be fought by the human deficiency system therefore once it is contacted there is no way to get rid of the virus. HIV can hide in your system for a very long time but it attacks your bodies T-cells which are needed to fight off infections and diseases. When HIV has attacked so many of your T-cells then it highly likely that next it will turn into AIDS.
Your body contracts AIDS because your immune system is deficient, which it becomes over time once you have contacted HIV. AIDS is the last stage in HIV and is brought on by a very badly damaged immune system. Once your body contracts AIDS you will need several medications and a lot of medical attention to prevent death or at least to slow down the process. With all the research that has been conducted over the last twenty plus years, it is more likely for people to live with HIV for a longer period...