Aids: the Silent Killer

Topics: AIDS, HIV, Immune system Pages: 2 (767 words) Published: December 1, 2010
AIDS: The Silent Killer
AIDS is one of the most commonly known sexually transmitted diseases. The last stages of HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, are what we know as AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is similar to other viruses like the flu or common cold except the human immune system cannot destroy the virus. The virus can hide in the cells of the body for long periods of time and attacks important parts of the immune system like T-cells or CD4 cells. Once HIV destroys a lot of CD4 cells the human body can no longer fight against infections and diseases. AIDS is diagnosed when the body cannot fight against disease and the patient has one or more specific opportunistic infections (OIs), different types of cancer, or an extremely low number of CD4 cells.

HIV lives in specific human blood and other body fluids. If those fluids enter the human blood stream then it is infected with HIV. Blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, breast milk, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucous contain high levels of HIV. Waste products like feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, and vomit contain HIV but not enough to infect someone; unless blood is mixed with the waste products and there is direct contact with them. People can get HIV from anyone who is HIV positive or infected with the disease.7 HIV affects most people from having sexual intercourse with an HIV positive person, sharing a needle with someone who is infected, drinking the breast milk of a HIV positive woman, or being birthed from a HIV positive woman.8 People used to get AIDs from injected blood donors, but now donated blood is screened for HIV.9 Oral sex is another way people can get AIDs, but only if there are open sores in your mouth or bleeding gums.10 Discussion

HIV/AIDs did not come about until the early 1980’s. The United States was the first country to notice this different virus among homosexual males.11 No one had any clue what this new virus was, it must have been...
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