The AIDS Epidemic


AIDS Informative Essay

AIDS is one of the world's greatest leading causes of death. Every day, over 6800 people become infected with HIV - almost five people per minute (Statistics). Today it is one of the world's most well known diseases and most feared, because it currently has no cure. AIDS knows no race, age, or gender.

In 1959, scientists isolate what is believed to be the earliest known case of AIDS. The discovery suggests that the multitude of global AIDS viruses all shared a common African ancestor within the past 40 to 50 years.
In 1981, the first cases of AIDS were identified among gay men in the United States; the disease still did not have a name, with different groups referring to it in different ways. In contrast some still linked the disease to its initial occurrence in gay men, with a letter in The Lancet calling it "gay compromise syndrome". Others called it GRID (gay-related immune deficiency), AID (acquired immunodeficiency disease), "gay cancer" or "community-acquired immune dysfunction (“Avert”). In June of 1982, a report of a group of cases amongst gay men in Southern California suggested that the disease might be caused by an infectious agent that was sexually transmitted.By the beginning of July a total of 452 cases, from 23 states, had been reported to the CDC. Later that month the first reports appeared that the disease was occurring in Haitians, as well as hemophiliacs. This news soon led to speculation that the epidemic might have originated in Haiti, and caused some parents to withdraw their children from hemophiliac camps (“Avert”). In 1984, a Canadian flight attendant nicknamed "patient zero" died of AIDS. Because of his sexual connection to several of the first victims of AIDS, it is believed that he is responsible for introducing the virus into the general population (“Avert”). In 1997, the drug RetrovRir (AZT, Zidovudine) is FDA approved and begins to be used in high doses to treat people infected with HIV (“Avert”).  By 2006, Experts have concluded that AIDS has it origins in the jungles of Africa among wild chimps. Other experts believe it entered the human species and became HIV/AIDS by way of monkey bites or ingesting monkey meat and brains (“Avert”). These are just a few of the theories experts came up with on the history on how AIDS came about.

Cold and flu sicknesses are everyday common germs we come in contact with and hardly ever keep us sick for long. But for a person with AIDS, those everyday common germs we come in contact with can potentially be fatal. The usual symptoms of AIDS are extreme fatigue, weight loss, severe and chronic diarrhea, fever, severe headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, vision loss, and seizures are just a few of the symptoms of carriers with the AIDS virus ("HIV/AIDS" 240-241). People with AIDS are much more open to other illnesses than people who don’t have the disease because when HIV uses the cell's genetic material; it damages the T-cell making it unable to do its job in our immune system. T-cells that are damaged, the weaker your immune system becomes. Eventually, your immune system will become so weak that it will not be able to protect you from other illnesses and infections, thus you become sick (Ksir 220).  People with AIDS are more likely to have fatal reactions to sicknesses such as pneumonia, skin infections, cancer and even the flu ("HIV/AIDS" 240-241).

Today scientists from all over the world are working hard to find some type of cure or vaccine to hopefully diminish the AIDS virus. Some experts say that acidic juices such as lemon juice could possibly ‘stop AIDS’ (Cohen 36). Other scientists believe they have found a chemical that would anticipate the AIDS virus and occupy the holes of human body cells that have yet to be invaded by the virus. It is believed but not confirmed that it would block it from reproducing and surviving in human body (Cohen 36). There are hundreds and hundreds of theories and educated guesses experts have made on how to stop or prevent AIDS from happening, but none have yet to be confirmed.

AIDS is one of the world's greatest leading causes of death. 33.2 million People are living with AIDS right now (Statistics). Today it is one of the world's most well known diseases and most feared, because it currently has no cure.
AIDS knows no race, age, or gender.

Click here to see a timeline of the AIDS virus' history until present day.

And click here to read more facts on the AIDS virus.