AIDS: A Global Threat.

Essay by robwillmsHigh School, 10th gradeA-, January 2004

download word file, 8 pages 3.7

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A- acquiredH- human

I- immune I- immunodeficiency

D- deficiencyV- virus

S- syndrome

What is HIV/AIDS?

AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This is a disease caused by HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks the immune system, the body's line of defense against diseases and infections. When the immune system breaks down, one becomes susceptible to serious, often deadly infections and cancers called opportunistic diseases, so named because they take advantage of the body's weakened defenses. T-cells are the part of the body's immune system, they help fight diseases. The average T-cell count for a healthy person is 800-1200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. The HIV/AIDS virus lowers the T-cell count, as a result of this the body is less able to fight cancers, sicknesses, and even the common cold. When you have HIV/AIDS your T-cell count is continually lowered, when it reaches 200 you are diagnosed with AIDS, when it reaches zero, you die because opportunistic diseases have taken over your body and are destroying what is left of your immune system, as well as the rest of your systems.

How is HIV/AIDS Transmitted?

Risk factors for acquiring HIV include sexual contact with an infected person, needle sharing among drug users, or through transfusions with infected blood. HIV infected women can transmit the virus to their newborns before or during birth, or thought breast feeding after birth. Health care workers can become infected with HIV after being stuck with HIV-tainted needles. HIV/AIDS is not acquired only by a single race, gender, or sexual orientation. When HIV first became a problem it was labeled as a "gay" disease, people believed that only homosexuals could acquire HIV/AIDS because when the disease emerged it appeared that only homosexuals were contracting it, but later research showed that...