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A critical analysis of HIV/AIDS - Essay Example

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The following write up includes a brief history of HIV/AIDS, its character as an infection and means of transmission. The essay then discusses HIV/AIDS epidemiology with reference to sexually active black African heterosexuals in the UK…
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A critical analysis of HIV/AIDS

Download file to see previous pages... This group was chosen because despite being only less than one percent of the UK population, it accounted for almost thirty percent of novel HIV diagnoses in 2010. The article will then discuss types of prevention including prevention of sexual transmission, prevention of infection from mother to child, sex education and treatment as a preventive strategy. The essay will then address preventive strategies employed to combat HIV/AIDS infections universally but with a bias in the sexually active blacks in UK. Lastly, the write up will critically evaluate the effectiveness of those strategies and the hindrances to effectiveness and then conclude with recommendations to address such issues based on identified evidence. HIV/AIDS became known in UK in the beginning of 1980s. Since then the population of people detected with HIV has increased almost doubling in 1990. At first, the disease was most prevalent among MSM, inject drug users and blood products recipients. Up to the end of 2010, almost 2000 people had contracted HIV through infected blood products (HPA). Of these, only twenty percent of these cases were undetected by 1994. For a period of seven years starting in 1994, there was an average of 2350 diagnoses every year. The rate of increase steeped in 1999, and peaking in 2005 with estimated diagnoses of up to 7900. Since then these numbers have since reduced but still remain high. For the last one and a half decades, the significant rise in diagnoses has been related with heterosexual related infections. In 2010, such exposure contributed for 42% of new diagnoses (HPA). Various groups are considered to be at a higher risk of HIV. One of these groups includes MSM. By 2010, this group had reached over fifty thousand. This included those already dead. According to NAT, novel infections in this category have steadily increased since 1999, and reached the highest in 2007. Another risk group is persons who inject drugs. Up to 2010, about 5,300 cases had been attributed to drug use. The figure for this year was 111. The other risk group is newborn children who acquire it from their mothers before, shortly after or during birth. By 2010, cases attributable to MTCT reached about 1943. HIV is a virus that attacks the defence system. In particular, the virus attacks T-helper cells. These cells are tasked with the synchronization of the activities of other defence cells. Weakening of the T cells reduces the body’s effectiveness in fighting diseases. This process is made possible by the presence of CD4 on the surface of the T-cells. This protein helps the virus to hold on to the T-cells before gaining access into the cells. Once inside, the virus multiplies, and is thus able to attack more cells. With time, the virus leads to dangerously low levels of T-cells present to fight infections. The amount of these T-cells is determined by a CD4 test. Without control, the CD4 count reduces to dangerously low levels and the individual advances to the AIDS condition. The progression of HIV infection can be divided into several stages: initial infection, asymptomatic stage, symptomatic and the advancement from HIV to aids. The first stage takes several weeks and is characterized by periodic flu-like sicknesses. In a significant percentage of the people, these signs are profound enough to warrant a visit to the hospital. However, the virus is not easily detectable at this stage. At this stage, the marginal blood contains huge quantities of the virus. The defence system produces HIV antibodies in response to the virus. This is seroconversion. After seroconversion, the virus is detectable through blood tests. In the second stage, a longer period is spent; approximately ten years. Major symptoms are absent, though there may be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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