Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen,vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk.
This transmission can involve anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids. [pic] MAIN DISCUSION: WHAT IS AIDS First of all I’ll explain the meaning of AIDS, what causes it, what are the symptoms, can be cured, how many people have died, and how is AIDS treated. AIDS stands for: A cquired I mmune D eficiency S indrome AIDS is a medical condition. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when their immune system is too weak to fight off infections.
Since AIDS was first identified in the early 1980s, an unprecedented number of people have been affected by the global AIDS epidemic. Today, there are an estimated 33. 3 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide. A person is diagnosed with AIDS when they have developed an AIDS related condition or symptom, called an opportunistic infection, or an AIDS related cancer. The infections are called ‘opportunistic’ because they take advantage of the opportunity offered by a weakened immune system. It is possible for someone to be diagnosed with AIDS even if they have not developed an opportunistic infection.
AIDS can be diagnosed when the number of immune system cells (CD4 cells) in the blood of an HIV positive person drops below a certain level. Worryingly, many people think there is a ‘cure’ for AIDS – which makes them feel safer, and perhaps take risks that they otherwise wouldn’t. However, there is still no cure for AIDS. The only way to stay safe is to be aware of how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent HIV infection. [pic] Since the first cases of AIDS were identified in 1981, more than 25 million people have died from AIDS. An estimated 1. 8 million people died as a result of AIDS in 2009 alone.
Although there is no cure for AIDS, HIV infection can be prevented, and those living with HIV can take antiretroviral drugs to delay the onset of AIDS. However, in many countries across the world access to prevention and treatment services is limited. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV prevention and care, so that millions of deaths can be averted. Antiretroviral treatment can prolong the time between HIV infection and the onset of AIDS. Modern combination therapy is highly effective and someone with HIV who is taking treatment could live for the rest of their life without developing AIDS.
An AIDS diagnosis does not necessarily equate to a death sentence. Many people can still benefit from starting antiretroviral therapy even once they have developed an AIDS defining illness. Better treatment and prevention for opportunistic infections have also helped to improve the quality and length of life for those diagnosed with AIDS. Treating some opportunistic infections is easier than others. Infections such as herpes zoster and candidiasis of the mouth, throat or vagina, can be managed effectively in most environments.
On the other hand, more complex infections such as toxoplasmosis, need advanced medical equipment and infrastructure, which are lacking in many resource-poor areas. It is also important that treatment is provided for AIDS related pain, which is experienced by almost all people in the very advanced stages of HIV infection. [pic] 33 million people in the world have HIV, 22 million live in Africa. 67% of people with HIV live in Africa yet the continent is home to just 10% of the world’s population. The disease is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa with approximately 3,600 people dying every day from AIDS.
It costs around 40 cents a day for the 2 antiretroviral pills needed to help keep someone living with HIV alive and healthy. Yet more than 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $2 a day. AIDS IN AFRICA Sub-Saharan Africa is more heavily affected by HIV and AIDS than any other region of the world. An estimated 22. 5 million people are living with HIV in the region – around two thirds of the global total. In 2009 around 1. 3 million people died from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and 1. 8 million people became infected with HIV. Since the beginning of the epidemic, 14.
8 million children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. The social and economic consequences of the AIDS epidemic are widely felt, not only in the health sector but also in education, industry, agriculture, transport, human resources and the economy in general. The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa continues to devastate communities, rolling back decades of development progress. Sub-Saharan Africa faces a triple challenge: • Providing health care, antiretroviral treatment, and support to a growing population of people with HIV-related illnesses.
[pic] • Reducing the annual toll of new HIV infections by enabling individuals to protect themselves and others. • Coping with the impact of millions of AIDS deaths2 on orphans and other survivors, communities, and national development. HIV and AIDS are having a widespread impact on many parts of African society. The points below describe some of the major effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. • The effect on life expectancy. In many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS has erased decades of progress made in extending life expectancy.
Average life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is now 52 years and in the most heavily affected countries in the region life expectancy is below 51 years. 6 In five of the six sub-Saharan African countries where life expectancy is lower than it was in the 1970s, this decline has been directly linked to HIV/AIDS. • The effect on households. The effect of the AIDS epidemic on households can be very severe, especially when families lose their income earners. In other cases, people have to provide home based care for sick relatives, reducing their capacity to earn money for their family.
Many of those dying from AIDS have surviving partners who are themselves infected and in need of care. They leave behind orphans, who are often cared for by members of the extended family. • The effect on healthcare. In all affected countries, the epidemic is putting strain on the health sector. As the epidemic develops, the demand for care for those living with HIV rises, as does the number of health care workers affected. [pic] • The effect on schools. Schools are heavily affected by AIDS. This a major concern, because schools can play a vital role in reducing the impact of the epidemic, through HIV education and support.
• The effect on productivity. The HIV and AIDS epidemic has dramatically affected labor, which in turn slows down economic activity and social progress. The vast majority of people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa are between the ages of 15 and 49 – in the prime of their working lives. Employers, schools, factories and hospitals have to train other staff to replace those at the workplace that become too ill to work. • The effect on economic growth and development. The HIV and AIDS epidemic has already significantly affected Africa’s economic development, and in turn, has affected Africa’s ability to cope with the epidemic.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO MAKE DIFFERENCE IN AFRICA International support One of the most important ways in which the situation in Africa can be improved is through increased funding for HIV/AIDS. More money would help to improve both prevention campaigns and the provision of treatment and care for those living with HIV. Domestic commitment More than money is needed if HIV prevention and treatment programmes are to be scaled up in Africa. [pic] In order to implement such programmes, a country’s health, education and communication systems and infrastructures must be sufficiently developed.
However, in many sub-Saharan Africa countries these systems were already under strain before the AIDS epidemic and they have experienced increased pressure on their resources as a result of AIDS. Money can also only be used efficiently if there are sufficient human resources available, yet there is an acute shortage of trained personnel in many parts of Africa. Reducing stigma and discrimination HIV-related stigma and discrimination remains an enormous barrier to the fight against AIDS. Fear of discrimination often prevents people from getting tested, seeking treatment and admitting their HIV status publicly.
Since laws and policies alone cannot reverse the stigma that surrounds HIV infection, AIDS education in Africa needs to be scaled-up to combat the ignorance that causes people to discriminate. The fear and prejudice that lies at the core of HIV and AIDS discrimination needs to be tackled at both community and national levels. Helping women and girls In many parts of Africa, as elsewhere in the world, the AIDS epidemic is aggravated by social and economic inequalities between men and women. Women and girls commonly face discrimination in terms of access to education, employment, credit, health care, land and inheritance.
These factors can all put women in a position where they are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection. In sub-Saharan Africa, around 59% of those living with HIV are female. [pic] CONCLUSION: AIDS is a human disease characterized by progressive destruction of the body’s immune system. It is widely accepted that AIDS results from infection with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), although this hypothesis is not without controversy. AIDS is currently considered incurable; where treatments are unavailable (mostly in poorer countries) most sufferers die within a few years of infection.
In developed countries, treatment has improved greatly over the past decade, and people have lived with AIDS for ten to twenty years. AIDS is shortcut of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Many people that are diseased are dying from this syndrome. 33 million people in the world have HIV, 22 million live in Africa. 67% of people with HIV live in Africa yet the continent is home to just 10% of the world’s population. The disease is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa with approximately 3,600 people dying every day from AIDS.
It costs around 40 cents a day for the 2 antiretroviral pills needed to help keep someone living with HIV alive and healthy. Yet more than 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $2 a day. As we can see from the statistics, Africa has the highest rate of diseased people. That can changed with international support, domestic commitment, reducing stigma and discrimination, and helping woman and girls. [pic] PEOPLE FOR AIDS: ?No one can lead our lives for us. We are responsible for our actions. So people—especially the younger generation—need to be very careful especially where safe sex is concerned.
— Salman Ahmad ?The fight against HIV/AIDS requires leadership from all parts of government – and it needs to go right to the top. AIDS is far more than a health crisis. It is a threat to development itself. — Kofi Annan ?Children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS are not only just as deserving of an education as any other children, but they may need that education even more. Being part of a school environment will prepare them for the future, while helping to remove the stigma and discrimination unfortunately associated with AIDS. — Harry Belafonte
?We want the world to focus on children whose lives have been devastated by AIDS. The millions of children who are missing their parents; their childhood, their future but most importantly, they are missing YOU. Everyone can make a real difference. Your voice is needed in a global movement that can change their world. — Pierce Brosnan [pic]
REFERENCES: • http://www. wordiq. com/definition/AIDS • http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/AIDS • http://www. avert. org/aids. htm • http://www. avert. org/aids-hiv-africa. htm • http://www. time. com/time/2001/aidsinafrica/ • http://www. betterworld. net/quotes/aids-quotes. htm.