HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS

Synopsis

In December 2008, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that approximately 1.1 million persons are living with HIV in the United States. This number is expected to continue to increase as antiretroviral treatments prolong lives and more people become infected than die from the disease each year. As the number of people living with HIV grows, so does the opportunity for HIV transmission.

Excerpt

Thirty years ago, the average person knew nothing of HIV/AIDS; she or he had not heard of it and as such, had no reason to fear it. Today, however, the vast majority of people around the globe have heard of it and most, if not all fear even the mention of it. What happened? To put it simply, a global pandemic happened. A potent virus spread throughout the human population initially due to ignorance of its existence and methods of transmission and later due to continued ignorance and human behavior. Today, there are millions of people infected by HIV/AIDS, and many more each day have their lives affected by it.

So, what do we now know about HIV/AIDS? Translating what medical researchers have told us about it into everyday language, we know that there is no vaccine that prevents HIV. We know that once infected with HIV, medications allow a person to forestall death for a certain amount of time (much longer today than in the past). We know that once diagnosed with AIDS, the infected person’s condition deteriorates far more rapidly. Most significantly, we know that currently there is no cure. In other words, HIV infection creates much suffering.

We know also that virtually all persons are or have been affected by HIV/AIDS; in other words, even those not infected by HIV and who do not personally know anyone with the virus are still affected in many ways. HIV has cut across many of the social lines that typically separate people from one another; most tragically, perhaps, we know that no one is immune from infection, regardless of age, as even newborns can be HIV+.

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