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Aids As An Invader

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS, is a silent invader. The first cases of this disease were reported in the early 1980’s. AIDS is caused by the infection known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is a microscopic organism that can grow and multiply inside living cells. HIV attacks and disables the body’s immune system. The immune system is the system that usually fights off illnesses. ?When the immune system breaks down, a person with AIDS will develop life-threatening illnesses.? (Flynn & Lound, 6) The invasion of the AIDS virus in an individual’s body leaves the body open to an invasion by many other different infections, called ?opportunistic diseases.? These infections are the main causes of death of AIDS patients. Because there is not yet a cure for AIDS, once the disease invades the body there is no way to get rid of it. AIDS is a life-threatening disease and those infected are often treated as invaders although they are the ones who were invaded.
Although AIDS first appeared in the United States in the early 1980’s, HIV ?first gained a foothold in humans some fifty or more years ago in Africa.? (Joseph, M. D., 14) At that time many hunters and their families killed and ate monkeys that carried the then undiagnosed and unnamed virus. Stephen C. Joseph, M. D. said that in the 1970’s, when he practiced medicine in Central Africa, he saw ?patients with wasting syndromes, atypical progressive infections, bizarre malignancies-all undiagnosed due to lack of laboratory facilities or lack of specific knowledge.? Joseph went on to say that ?most of the mortally ill children I was caring for had a combination of severe malnutrition and one or more infectious diseases. These children were in a way the analog to today’s people with AIDS -they suffered malnutrition to such an extreme that their immune systems collapsed.? (Joseph, M. D., 15) The 1970’s is when the AIDS virus first erupted in the United States. This is when certain rare types of cancer and
many other serious infections were starting to show up in many people who were healthy beforehand. ?Strikingly, these were disorders that would hardly ever threaten persons with normally functioning immune systems.? (Grolier) It wasn’t until 1981 that these symptoms, which were symptoms of HIV, progressed and were given a formal name and description we now know as the AIDS syndrome.
Since the first AIDS cases were reported, more than 1 million people have been diagnosed with the AIDS virus and over 200,000 have died in the United States alone. Of the more that 1 million people who have been infected by HIV, most don’t even know that they have been infected because they still have not developed any symptoms. The first high risk group was among homosexual men. AIDS first appeared among the gay community. Now, homosexuals are not the only people who are getting AIDS. The syndrome is now widespread among heterosexuals also.
AIDS is an invader because it unwantingly enters the body without any warning signs. There is no way in telling whether or not a person has HIV or even full-blown AIDS. Anyone can get AIDS. The only way that an individual can be safe from this silent invader is to stay away from high risk activities. These activities are sexual intercourse, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual, with an infected individual and exposure to infected blood or blood products, such as through a blood transfusion or by using infected hypodermic needles during drug use.
The number of women being infected by the AIDS virus is increasing very rapidly. ?AIDS has become the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 20 and 40 in the major cities or North and South America, Western Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States, AIDS has hit hardest among black and Hispanic women.? (Grolier) Eighty percent of children born to women with AIDS acquire HIV from their infected mothers. ?Between 24 and 33 percent of children born
to infected women will develop the disease.? (Grolier)
AIDS first invades the body as HIV, and an individual with this virus may not show any symptoms at all. The period from when


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