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Like the majority of the American population I have lived in a cloud of
ignorance about the HIV and AIDS crisis. I have never know anyone close to me
that has been infected with either of the two viruses. So when the option to
research something to do with sexuality arouse I felt this would definitely
further my education about a lethal killer that is roaming this earth. Since I
knew next to nothing about this topic I will start from the begging of the
disease and discuss where it's at now.
The HIV and AIDS disease has been around for awhile although no one has
been able to pin point it's origin. There are many theories floating around the
medical world but the most predominant theory "is that the virus first attacked
humans in Central Africa up to 100 years ago."(Kelly 524). It is said that the
virus stayed mainly in this closed society until many years later. Many say the
disease spread when international travel began to increase. The HIV and AIDS
viruses were believed to arrive in the United States sometime during the
nineteen seventies. It was a common disease between gay males and intravenous
drug abusers. Now it is well known that the viruses have been transmitted
through sexually, occasionally through blood and organ transplants.
The acronym HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, where as the
acronym AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. When someone has
contracted the HIV virus in almost all cases it produces the AIDS virus.
Apparently there has been a controversy that HIV really isn't the cause of the
AIDS virus, but careful research has proved without a doubt that it is the cause.
Socially the production of the viruses has caused a lot of hate, prejudice,
racism and above all homophobia.
Many people only talk about the late stages of AIDS but HIV does not
always produce the AIDS virus. If the HIV virus is caught in the early stages
it is possible to get treatment and delay the effects of the AIDS virus. When
an individual contracts HIV they can expect a fever, swollen glands, and
sometimes a rash. As the bodies system tends toward these symptoms the HIV
virus may still be undetectable. This first stage is called primary HIV disease
then moves onto chronic asymptomatic disease. With this stage comes a decline
in the immune cells and often swollen lymph nodes. As time moves on the
depletion of immune cells increases leaving the body open to opportunistic
infection. This is where normal sickness,
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