Firstly, a definition of HIV/AIDS must be presented. For purposes of this essay, HIV will be defined as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a disease that attacks the immune system and makes it weak against infections and other diseases (DOH 2005). Being initially infected with the virus is what designates the onset of HIV, and this is where the virus, which consists of ribonucleic acid or RNA, attaches itself to deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA of the body, which makes up the body’s composition.
As the virus attaches itself it becomes part of the DNA of an individual and thus begins to weaken the immune system as a whole (DOH 2005). AIDS, on the other hand, is termed Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, which is an advanced form of an HIV infection (DOH 2005). Here, after the virus has changed the DNA of the individual, the effect of this change comes into effect. More and more infectious diseases come into the individual’s system, and frequent infections occur.
The body is unable to defend against such infections and the latter are repeated frequently as no immunization occurs after each infection (DOH 2005). The diseases that infect HIV/AIDS patents frequently are pneumonia and many sexually-transmitted diseases like syphilis, herpes. Chlamydia and gonorrhea among others. Aside from the frequent infection of serious and debilitating diseases, the individual experiences weight loss and wasting away, along with great bouts of diarrhea that make the situation even worse. However, as it was seen in Liz’s case, the infection was not apparent until she had given birth.
Studies say that symptoms appear many years later and the infected individual feels perfectly fine during said period. Once AIDS had set in, that was when the individual would feel the condition (DOH 2005). Giving birth had clearly weakened her body and perhaps accelerated the effects or even magnified them. Also, the symptoms were seen in the baby as shown by incessant crying. Sick Thus this was where Liz’ s statuses and roles began to be superseded by a new status which she herself had not expected would control every facet of her and her daughter’s life.
Here, we will examine the way HIV/AIDS changed Liz’s perceptions and social functioning. Line 14 of the case shows Liz’s reaction to the report of her daughter’s infection, “My God! I was her Mother! Where else could she have gotten it? ” Initial shock and immediate search for the source of infection were what registered in Liz’s mind upon knowledge of her daughter being HIV positive. This reaction is possibly reflected in society’s own general initial reaction upon finding out a person is infected with the disease.
Shock perhaps because the infected person is still a baby and search for a source so one can become wary and defend herself from said source. Once a person is sick, medication or some form of cure is sought. Luckily for Liz and Kia, treatment of HIV/AIDs has improved in this modern age and because of this, they stand better chances of living for an extended length of time. The location in which they live in also provides them access to the said medication, unlike other African women who reside in areas difficult to live in and bring drugs to.
However, this does not entirely mean that some form of medication will even be sought. Many factors affect the availability, access and willingness to take HIV/AIDS medication (Anderson 2004), which will be discussed in later sections. Stigma The next sentence in the case sums up the most oppressive layer of finding out that one is infected, “I saw our lives coming to a shameful end. ” How come this was the conclusion and the vision that Liz had perceived? What has society done to others with HIV/AIDS so that Kia may arrive at this conclusion for herself and her daughter?