AIDS: Information

Essay by LordlaxativeHigh School, 10th grade February 2004

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AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and HIV affect more than roughly thirty million people worldwide. It is now generally accepted that HIV is a descendant of simian (monkey) immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Certain simian immunodeficiency viruses bear a very close resemblance to HIV-1 and HIV-2, the two types of HIV. But how did it transfer to humans? It has been known for a long time that certain viruses can pass from animals to humans, and this process is referred to as zoonosis. The researchers concluded that HIV could have crossed over from chimpanzees as a result of a human killing a chimp and eating it for food. This chimp was from West Africa, which was also where the first case originated. It is then presumed that HIV spread from there around the world. But some other rather controversial theories have contended that HIV was transferred via medical experiments. One particularly well-publicized theory is that polio vaccines played a role in the transfer.

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make "antibodies," special molecules that are supposed to fight HIV. As HIV disease continues, it slowly wears down the immune system. Viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria that usually don't cause any problems can make you very sick if your immune system is damaged.

Race, sex and age have nothing to do with who can get this disease, however, the race with the highest number of infected people happens to be Caucasian males ages 25-44. About forty-five percent of the 641,000 AIDS cases in the U.S. have been white people. Blacks aren't far behind with over 35 percent of cases, and Hispanics have about 20 percent of all cases. Asians...