Reasons behind the Outbreak
Based on a study by Whiteside (2008), the acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) came into the public limelight on the 5th of June 1981 in a report by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, USA. AIDS is apparently caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that crossed from primates into human beings. The use of the acronym AIDS was agreed on in July 1982 and later CDC gave a working definition for the disease based on clinical signs (Whiteside, 2008).
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Drawing from a study by AVERT (2016), AIDS outbreak was a result of an event that took place in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1920 causing HIV to cross from chimpanzees to human beings. However, it was not possible to determine the number of cases between 1920 and 1981 when AIDS was brought into the glare of the public (AVERT, 2016).
Currently, AIDS is regarded as the world’s biggest public health challenge (WHO, 2016). Although it has had a devastating impact on people in every part of the world, it is more prevalent in developing nations.
Facts about AIDS
Facts about AIDS
The World Health Organization outlines a number of facts about AIDS (WHO, 2016). One of the facts about AIDS is that it occurs as a result of the weakening of the body’s immune system by the HIV virus. AIDS thus refers to an advanced stage of HIV infection. Another fact is concerns transmission. According to WHO, HIV can be transmitted in various ways including unprotected sex, blood transfusion, sharing contaminated clinical items, and mother to child transmission at some stages of pregnancy. Based on findings by the World Health Organization, there are approximately 36.7 million people suffering from AIDS globally (WHO, 2016). Apparently, this number includes about 1.8 million children.
Signs and Symptoms
According to USDHHS (2015), affected individuals may experience flu related illnesses within 2 – 4 weeks after being infected with HIV in the early stages. However, others may still appear healthy during this period. These symptoms include but are not limited to fever, night sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, and a sore throat. In the absence of an effective intervention strategy, a victim’s condition worsens and proceeds to AIDS (USDHHS, 2015). At this stage, an individual will show symptoms such as rapid weight loss, sweating profusely at night, extreme tiredness, pneumonia, and sores in the mouth or genitals.
What AIDS does to your Body
As explained earlier, AIDS generally weakens a victim’s immune system and disrupts their normal functioning. Eventually, a fertile ground is created for opportunist diseases to thrive. These are diseases that take advantage of the fact that the body’s immune system is no longer strong.
Prevention of AIDS
Precautionary Measures for Protection
To be safe from HIV and AIDS, it is imperative for an individual to go for early testing (WHO, 2016). This helps to ensure that treatment is administered timely. Another strategy for dealing with AIDS involves the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The use of ART stops HIV from multiplying and enables patients to live longer (Holmberg, 2008). AIDS can also be prevented by practicing safe sex, using disposable needles when injecting drugs, and making sure that blood is tested for HIV before transfusion.
Tests and Treatments
As mentioned earlier, it is important to have patients tested early so that the treatment can commence on time. Treatment is mainly conducted through the use of antiretroviral therapy.
AIDS is certainly a menace to the society that requires a joint intervention strategy. However, with an effective strategy, it is possible to lessen its impact on the society. The use of ART, for example, ensures that the affected individuals live longer.
AVERT. (2016). History of HIV and AIDS overview. Web.
Holmberg, S. (2008). Scientific errors and controversies in the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic: How they slowed advances and were resolved. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (USDHHS). (2015). Symptoms of HIV. Web.
Whiteside, A. (2008). HIV/AIDS: A very short introduction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
World Health Organization (WHO). (2016). 10 facts on HIV/AIDS. Web.