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AIDS in the United States - Research Paper Example

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AIDS is the most infectious disease the world has known in more than a 100 years.The human impact has been the most evident in Sub-Sahara Africa, AIDS region of origination, where at least 25 million persons are known to be infected…
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AIDS in the United States
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Download file to see previous pages 20 percent of adults have AIDS in seven countries of this area of Africa. The initial slow reaction and lack of concern during the early 1980’s and beyond by the U.S. is clear today. Forty thousand new instances of the disease is reported each year but exactly how many persons are infected is not known because the method intended used to track AIDS is flawed and not likely to be fixed anytime soon. However, the social effect of AIDS has been widely acknowledged. This has served to inform the public and slow the progression of the epidemic but not in the African American community. The continuing proliferation of AIDS is allowed by the lack of appropriate vaccines and the virus’ ability to evolve as it invades, weakens and finally destroys the immune system. HIV, the disease which develops into AIDS, evolves so quickly that its exterior molecules are in a continuous state of transformation; consequently, the human immune system and the vaccines used to battle the virus, cannot catch up. “As it replicates within a single infected individual, HIV accumulates mutations that change the shape of its surface proteins, evolving right out from under the antibodies produced by the victim’s immune system” (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2007). Due to AID’s capability of evolving at such a considerable pace, it rapidly counters medical treatments. The HIV cells which live beyond the primary drug concoction reproduce and their decedents transmit the drug resistant strain. This is the rationale for a patient’s drug therapy including what is generally called a ‘drug cocktail’ (various types of HIV drugs used together) which, in concert, act to hinder the further development of the resistant (strong) HIV viral strains. If a smaller amount of the resistant cells continue to exist, the less likelihood the disease will continue to spread. This is just one of the primary evolutionary models used by biomedical scientists to battle AIDS. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2007). AIDS made the evolutionary leap from chimpanzees to people. In all likelihood, the transfer happened by people using chimpanzees as a source for meat. The virus began in two varieties of monkeys which were eaten by chimpanzees which may cannibalize when food sources run short. A hybrid virus found in these monkeys (SIV) dispersed via infected chimpanzees and a mutated type (HIV-1) was ultimately transmitted to humans. Just like chimpanzees, people carry two variations of the disease. HIV-2 is the other and the less virulent. “Because of the similarity between chimpanzees and humans, any virus that successfully adapts to spreading among chimps would be a candidate for a further jump to humans, a potential HIV-3,” according to Paul Sharp, Institute of Genetics at University in England. (cited in Lovgren, 2003). One percent of the Earth’s inhabitants have contracted AIDS. The disease is to blame for killing of nearly three million people every year. AIDS is spread through use of use needles and unprotected sex. There is overwhelming evidence that needle exchange programs (NEPs) are very effective in preventing the transmission of the AIDS viruses yet do not promote drug use as critics of these programs contend. When first presented with this idea, Congress thought that NEPs would encourage drug abuse and they would send the message that the federal government sanctioned drug use by encouraging clean needle dispersal. “Restricting access to sterile syringes only acts to exacerbate the IDUs already desperate situation and is not in the best interest of the community regarding health, criminal or financial concerns. Free, legal and easily ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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