HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) was first discovered in the early 1980s. These cases were seen in men who had multiple sexual partners with other men and IV drug users. “AIDS is now a pandemic. ” (Zelman, Tompary, Raymond, Holdaway, & Mulvihill, 2010) The purpose of this paper is to describe what HIV/AIDS is. This paper will also explain how the disease is transmitted, environmental factors, treatments, methods used to control spreading of the disease, and how to promote prevention.

HIV is an infection, an inflammatory disease and contributes to chronic inflammation. Over a period of time, HIV will weaken the immune system causing old infections to reoccur and new infections to occur which will cause more inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes scarring and tissue damage. Chronic inflammation contributes to allergies, autoimmune diseases, asthma, and chronic diseases such as, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and kidney problems. HIV is a virus that the immune system just can’t get rid of. HIV attacks an important part of the immune system, T-cells or CD4 cells.

These cells fight off infections and diseases but HIV actually takes over these cells, uses them to make copies of itself, and then destroys the T-cells or CD4 cells. Over a period of time, HIV destroys so many CD4 cells or T-cells that your body doesn’t have enough to fight off infections or diseases. When this occurs, HIV leads to AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV. People who are in this stage have badly damaged immune systems making them susceptible to numerous infections and diseases. To prevent death, medical intervention and treatment will be needed.

HIV/AIDS is transmitted through sexual contact, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, IV drug use, occupational exposure, and in rare cases, blood transfusion or organ transplant. HIV/AIDS is transmitted through body fluids. These body fluids include blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, breast milk, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucous. If these specific body fluids enter your body, there is a big chance that you can become infected with the disease. The very first step to HIV/AIDS treatment is to schedule a doctor appointment.

The doctor will order a CD4 test and viral load test to get a better idea of how the virus is affecting your immune system. Other tests may be ordered if the doctor feels any of them to be necessary. Standard treatment for HIV/AIDS is antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART uses different kinds of medication to treat HIV and prevent the virus from growing or multiplying. ART can help someone live longer, reduce the risk of developing other infections or diseases, and lower the chances of transmitting the disease to other people.

Massage, dietary supplements, meditation, and acupuncture are all forms of alternative therapy. There are numerous ways to reduce your risk of getting the disease and controlling the spread of it. HIV cannot enter the body through unbroken skin so healthy skin is an important barrier against HIV. Some ways to help the spread of HIV through sexual contact are to not have sex, be monogamous, and using a condom. The most important thing to do is get tested and know your partner’s status. Not sharing needles during drug use can control the spread of HIV.

Not using IV drugs will ultimately control the spread of HIV. If pregnant or plan to become pregnant, get tested. If a person is HIV positive, do not breastfeed the baby and take the proper steps to control the spread of infection to the unborn child. Working at a job where a person comes into contact with body fluids, wear gloves or other protective equipment to control the spread of the infection. Education is the most important thing a community can do to promote prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Make sure schools are teaching kids what the disease is and how important it is to control the spread of the disease. Talk to the community about prevention and how to control the spread. Be sure there are affordable places that the community is aware of where HIV/AIDS testing is available. The government and researchers could continue the search for a vaccine or even better, a cure! In conclusion, the HIV is unlike any other infection or disease out there. The immune system never fully gets rid of it like it does with other infections.

AIDS is a pandemic and causes death. Reducing your risk, prevention, and controlling the spread of the disease are very important. This paper informed others of HIV/AIDS and how serious this infection/disease has gotten since the early 1980’s.

References Zelman, M. , Tompary, E. , Raymond, J. , Holdaway, P. , & Mulvihill, M. (2010). Human diseases: A systemic approach (7th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. HIV/AIDS Basics. (2013). Retrieved from http://aids. gov/hiv-aids-basics/ HIV/AIDS. (2013). Retrieved from http://www. cdc. gov/hiv/default. htm.

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