Aids

.. f the mouth by the fungus Candida Albicans, is common in the early symptomatic phase of AIDS. Other infectious fungi include species of the genus Cryptococcus, a major cause of Meningitis in up to 13 percent of people with AIDS. Also, infection by the fungus Histoplasma Capsulatum affects up to 10 percent of people with AIDS, causing general weight loss, fever, and respiratory complications or severe central nervous system complications if the infection reaches the brain. Viral opportunistic infections, especially with members of the Herpes virus family, are common in people with AIDS. One Herpes family member, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), infects the retina of the eye and can result in blindness. Another herpes virus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), may result in a cancerous transformation of blood cells.

Infections with Herpes Simplex Virus types 1 and 2 are also common and result in progressive sores around the mouth and anus. Many people with AIDS develop cancers, the most common types being B-cell Lymphoma and Kaposis Sarcoma. Kaposis Sarcomaa cancer of blood vessels that results in purple lesions on the skin that can spread to internal organs and cause deathoccurs mainly in homosexual and bisexual men. Although the cause of KS is unknown, a link between KS and a new type of herpes virus was discovered in 1994. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) The causative agent of AIDS is HIV, a human retrovirus.

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Researchers have known since 1984 that HIV enters human cells by binding with a receptor protein known as CD4, located on human immune-cell surfaces. HIV carries on its surface a viral protein known as cp120, which specifically recognizes and binds to the CD4 protein molecules on the outer surface of human immune cells. However, in 1984 researchers found that CD4 by itself was not sufficient for HIV infection to take place. Some other unknown factor, found only in human cells, was also required. After much research, in 1996 scientists discovered that HIV must also bind to Chemokine Receptors, small proteins also found on the surface of human immune cells, to enter the cells. The first Chemokine Receptor linked to HIV entry was CXCR4 (originally called fusin), which is bound by HIV strains that dominate during the latter stages of the disease.

Researchers then determined that another Chemokine Receptor, CCR5, bound HIV strains that dominate in the early stages of the disease. Researchers are continuously discovering more chemokine receptors. Any human cell that has the correct binding molecules on its surface is a potential target for HIV infection. However, it is the specific class of human white blood cells called CD4 T-cells that are most affected by HIV because these cells have high concentrations of the CD4 molecule on their outer surfaces. HIV replication in CD4 T-cells can kill the cells directly; however, the cells also may be killed or rendered dysfunctional by indirect means without ever having been infected with HIV. CD4 T- cells are critical in the normal immune system because they help other types of immune cells respond to invading organisms.

As CD4 T-cells are specifically killed during HIV infection, no help is available for immune responses. General immune system failure results, permitting the opportunistic infections and cancers that characterize clinical AIDS. Although it is generally agreed that HIV is the virus that causes AIDS and that HIV replication can directly kill CD4 T-cells, the large variation among individuals in the amount of time between infection with HIV and a diagnosis of AIDS has led to speculation that other co-factorsthat is, factors acting along with HIVmay influence the course of disease. The exact nature of these cofactors is uncertainit is believed that they may include genetic, immunologic, and environmental factors or other diseases. However, it is clear that HIV must be present for the development of AIDS.

Modes of Transmission HIV is spread through the exchange of body fluids, primarily semen, blood, and blood products. It is most commonly spread by sexual contact with an infected person. The virus is present in the sexual secretions of infected men and women and gains access to the bloodstream of the uninfected person by way of small abrasions that may occur as a consequence of sexual intercourse. HIV is also spread by any sharing of needles or syringes that results in direct exposure to the blood of an infected individual. This method of exposure occurs most commonly among people abusing intravenous (IV) drugs (drugs injected into the veins).HIV transmission through blood transfusions or use of blood-clotting factors is now extremely rare because of extensive screening of the blood supply; it is estimated that undetected HIV is present in fewer than 1 in 450,000 to 600,000 units of blood. HIV can be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby, either before or during childbirth, or through breast-feeding. Although only about 25 to 35 percent of babies born to HIV-infected mothers worldwide actually become infected, this mode of transmission accounts for 90 percent of all cases of AIDS in children.

In addition, even uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers have an incidence of heart problems 12 times that of children in the general population. In the health care setting, workers have been infected with HIV after being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood or, less frequently, after infected blood contacts the workers open cut or splashes into a mucous membrane (for example, the eyes or the inside of the nose). There has been only one demonstrated instance of patients being infected by a health-care worker; this involved HIV transmission from an infected dentist to six patients. In general, infected health-care workers pose no risk to their patients. There is also no risk of contracting HIV infection while donating blood. The routes of HIV transmission are well known, but unfounded fear continues concerning the potential for transmission by other means, such as casual contact in a household, school, workplace, or food-service setting.

No scientific evidence to support any of these fears has been found. HIV does not survive well when exposed to the environment. Drying of HIV-infected human blood or other body fluids reduces the theoretical risk of environmental transmission to essentially zero. Additionally, HIV is unable to reproduce outside its living host; therefore, it does not spread or maintain infectiousness outside its host. No cases of HIV transmission through the air, by casual contact, or even by kissing an infected individual have been documented. Researchers have recently identified a protein in saliva, known as secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), that prevents HIV from infecting white blood cells.

However, practices that increase the likelihood of contact with the blood of an infected individual, such as open-mouth kissing or sharing toothbrushes or razors, should be avoided. There is also no known risk of HIV transmission to coworkers, clients, or consumers from contact in food-service establishments. Studies have shown no evidence of HIV transmission through insectseven in areas where there are many cases of AIDS and large popu Health and Beauty.

Aids

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Today, despite the continuing production of better antibiotics since the discovery of penicillin, we are facing an infectious disease against which all these drugs are virtually powerless. This disease is spreading inexorably, killing more people and more people each year. AIDS does not know no national boundaries and does not discriminate by race or sex. It is rampaging not only throughout the United States, but also through Africa, India, China, Russia, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean countries. Even infants and children are at risk. AIDS is similar to the bubonic plague or the BLACK DEATH that killed perhaps one-third in Europe in the 14th century. Yet, the difference from the Black Death and AIDS is that it is in slow motion because the infectious agent that causes AIDS can remain dormant in a person’s body for several years before it causes illness, and because death from AIDS can be slow and drawn out once symptoms appear.

AIDS is essentially a disease of the immune system. The body’s defenses are destroyed and the patient becomes prey to the infections and cancers that would normally be fought off without any trouble. In 1984 it was proved that AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A virus is a minute infectious particle that enters and kills the immune cells, or lymphocytes. Because it destroys the very mechanism humans rely on for protection, prior to 1996 contracting Aids was considered a death sentence. For many years, 85 to 90 percent of all AIDS patients died within three years. They might have recovered from one infection only to succumb to another a few months later. Between infections they remain weak, emaciated and unable to work or carry on normal activities. In late 1996, almost 15 years after the first reported AIDS cases, researchers made the discovery that a certain combination of newly developed drugs could substantially prolong life in some AIDS patients. But AIDS is a fiendish virus. When researchers cleared it out of a patient’s bloodstream, it hid in the lymph nodes. Scientists, figured out how to banish it from the lymph nodes, they found the virus lurking in the brain. Although, there is hope for a cure because they have done some experiments isolating a gene and it has had good results in some people infected with AIDS. The area that many people are concerned is with Southeast Asia-particularly India. At 900 million, India’s population is almost double that sub-Saharan Africa, which, with 13.3 million HIV-positive adults, accounts for 60 percent of the world’s total adult infections.
The major reasons for such spread in India and following Africa is the high rate of their population, poverty rate, and other risk factors all point to a likely explosion. The number of HIV infections worldwide doubled between 1991 and 1996-and that number is expected to double again by the year 2000. By the turn of the century, about 44 million people will have fallen victim to the virus that causes AIDS. The signs of hope do not stop by the reason of Prevention Programs which they have succeeded in reducing HIV-infection rates dramatically among young men in Thailand and young women in Uganda-two of the countries hit hardest by the3 disease. The rate of new infections have also dropped sharply among gay men in the United States, Australia, Canada, and western Europe.

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However, many ingredients of the AIDS epidemic are still mystery. The cause of AIDS remained uncertain for several years after its discovery. Even now, there are questions about how efficiently the AIDS virus spreads, whether it will kill everyone who gets it, and why the virus is do devastating to the immune system. It’s initial spread was in the United States was among groups that are frowned upon by society-homosexuals and intravenous(drug users)- AIDS has a stigma associated with it. This makes the disease difficult to confront rationally. However, people are terrified even by the word of AIDS. The virus does not get transmitted by any body contact neither through the air. However, the disease does not pass from one person to another through the air, by sneezing, on eating utensils, by shaking hands, or through body contact in sports. There are only four ways it can be spread: through injection with a needle contaminated with HIV, which it can happen when drug addicts share needles; by receiving a transfusion of contaminated blood; or-in the case of infant with an HIV-positive mother-having the virus transmitted through the placenta before birth, or the mother’s milk after birth.

For years, some people to refused to admit AIDS was a problem. Although, the disease first received national attention in 1982, when the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) noticed an alarming rate of rare cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma) in otherwise healthy gay men.

SOUNDING THE FIRST ALARM
Three patients examined by Dr.Gottlieb were very ill. Interestingly, they had several striking features in common. All had unusual infections such as thrush, which is the growth in the throat of a fungus called Candida; or a rare type of pneumonia caused by a parasite called Pneumocystis. Also, they had been infected by less-common viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis, or by cytomegalovirus (CMV). Taken together, the infections pointed to a serious defect in the patients’ immune systems.

Sure enough, when Dr. Gottlieb drew a vial blood from each patient and measured special kind of immune cell called a T-helper lymphocyte, all three patients’ tests gave the same startling result. They were virtually devoid of T-helper cells, Dr. Gottlieb found. It was clear that they had seriously deficient immune systems.

The three men had something else in common: they were all homosexuals. At that time it was not clear that the patients’ homosexuality was related to the illness; a patients’ sexual preference had never before been considered the determining factor of a medical disorder. That situation was about to change radically.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
Early symptoms of HIV, lasting between one and four weeks, can mimic that of mononucleosis, with symptoms such as swellings of the lymph nodes, headache, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, sweating and sore throat. Often of these symptoms are mistaken for the flu or another viral-type infection, so people may not even be aware that they have been infected with HIV. Even if the patient has seen a doctor, the physician may dismiss the symptoms as a viral infection. In nearly all the cases, this stage dissipates due to the healthy immune system’s ability to fight the initial infection. Early symptoms may include:
*Herpes zoster (shingles), a skin rash that appear on the chest, abdomen, and/or back.

*Herpes simplex, a common sexually transmits disease that affects the rectal, genital, esophageal regions of the body. Painful lesions can erupt into ulceration’s of the area. In HIV/AIDS patients, this may become a chronic condition.

*Thrush, a white coating on the walls of the mouth, gums, and on the tongue, that is caused by a fungus called Candida Albicans.

*Excessive bruising and bleeding that occurs when a person develops antibodies which attack the body’s platelets-cells which help blood to clot. This condition can go unnoticed, and is often not detected until a routine blood test is performed.

*Chronic or intermittent diarrhea, found both in early and late stages of HIV infection.

As the immune system becomes increasingly compromised, the body is not able to fight off more serious infections that a normal intact immune system could suppress. Some of these life threatening infection include:
*Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), caused by parasite called pneumoncytis carinii. Symptoms include fever and respiratory complications that often lead to death.

*Kaposi’s sarcoma, a condition in which tumors of the blood vessels develop on the skin, in the gastrointestinal tract, mouth, lungs, groin, brain liver, and lymph glands. The mall, nonpainful lesions usually are a red, brown, or purple color.

*Tuberculosis (TB), which can occur in both early and late stages of HIV. Symptoms include night sweats, fever, cough, and weight loss. One of the major problems with this aspect of the disease is the development of TB strains resistant to drugs, making it harder and harder to treat.

*Mycobacterium avium complex, which produces fatigue, chills, night sweats, fever, weight loss, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

*HIV related lymphoma, swollen lymph glands in the neck, groin region, or under the arms. This requires radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

*Toxoplasmosis encephalitis, caused by a parasite, which produces an infection in the brain leading to neuro logical impairment and seizures. Symptoms include headaches, fever, lethargy, confusion, and loss of balance or coordination.

*Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, a viral infection distributed to all parts of the body through bloodstream and causing infections in the eyes, lungs, and other organs. About 90 percent of AIDS patients eventually develop cytomegalovirus.

*Crytococcosis. Produced by a fungus found in the soil. This causes a brain infection. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, nausea and vomiting, altered mental state, memory loss, confusion, and behavioral changes.

*Crytosporidosis, an infection developed drinking and contaminated water, produces severe diarrhea and weight loss.

KAPOSI’S SARCOMA
If the infectious disease specialists were puzzled, several New York dermatologist were even more perplexed. These doctors, who specialize in skin diseases, were seeing a number of patients with an extremely rare kind of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma spot on the skin, further examination reveals the presence of the cancer in an internal organ, such as the stomach, as well.

Kaposi’s sarcoma had been a disease of elderly men in the Mediterranean origin; in New York City it began to appear in young men of every ethnic background. It had been known as a slow-growing cancer that could be treated successfully; in these new, young patients the sarcoma was spreading fast and damaging internal organs.

A cancer of the skin and internal organs does not sound like it would be related to rare infections of the lung and the brain. But there is a strong connection-the immune system. It is one of the principles of the science of immunology that immune cells are essential in protecting the body from tumor cells. If a small colony of cancers, a tumor, become established, lymphocytes (part of the immune system) are supposed to find it and destroy it before it can grow. So Kaposi’s sarcoma in these young gay men could be seen as opportunistic cancer, taking advantage of the breakdown in the patients’ defenses, just as the infectious organisms were doing.

There was also a more concrete reason for the doctors to know that the cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma in young gay men signaled a breach of these person’s protective mechanisms: Kaposi’s is relatively common in patients whose immune systems were surprised by medical treatment. Patients taking drugs that suppress the immune system are also prone to lymphoma, or cancer of the immune system, Soon this cancer started showing in gay men, too.

WHY HOMOSEXUALS?
Dr. Currant’s statement implied two things. One, that there was an infectious organism underlying the unusual diseases (perhaps an infectious organism that attacked the immune system). Two, that the homosexual lifestyle was somehow unique. It would be three years before the suspicion of an infectious agent that attacked immune cells was verified by the isolation of the AIDS virus. But it was already known that gay men’s sexual habits differed from those of the most heterosexuals. They found that two other diseases were very common in homosexual men and that are sexually transmitted-hepatitis B and gonorrhea. The first thought was that the occurrence of the Pneumocystis pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma in homosexual men might involve sexual transmission. The men with Kaposi’s reported having an average of 61 different partners in the previous year; the public clinic patients and the men from private physicians said they had had 25 different sexual partners in the past year. Both of these numbers are much higher than the two to five sexual partners per year common among nonmonogamous (sexually active with more than one partner)heterosexuals. The ill men reported contacting a much higher percentage of their partners in gay baths, public places where gay men can go for anonymous sex. The men with Kaposi’s had met with half of their partners in the baths; the clinic patients had made one-fourth of their sexual contacts in the baths; and the healthy private patients averaged only one anonymous partner per year.

Homosexual men have higher rates of sexually transmits diseases than heterosexual men and women because gay men tend to have larger numbers of different sexual partners, more often engage in furtive (anonymous) sexual activities, and more frequently have anal intercourse.

PUZZLING SYMPTOMS
Any theory of the new disease also had to account for a puzzling factor: the variety of symptoms seen in AIDS patients before they entered the final phase of complete susceptibility to opportunistic infections and cancers. Interviews with AIDS patients revealed many had been very sick for up to a year before they developed their first case of Pneumocystis pneumonia or showed their first Kaposi’s spot, both signs of AIDS.
One form of illness that preceded outright AIDS was a state called lymphadenopathy syndrome, or as LAS, in which the patient had several swollen lymph nodes for three months or more. These swollen lymph nodes might be in the neck, in the throat, or under the armpits. Swollen lymph nodes are a sign that the immune system is fighting an infection. Did any patients with swollen lymph nodes get better, indicating a successful fight? Or was the struggle always futile? Several physicians recruited patients with LAS and examined them every few months to learn the answer.

A more serious condition was AIDS-related complex (ARC), a stage of the illness no longer considered separately. It had been defined in 1983 as the presence of two or more unexplained clinical symptoms of AIDS and at least two abnormal lab tests for the related signs. Patients with ARC might lose a large amount of weight, have frequent fevers, sweat a lot at night, feel very fatigued, and suffer untreatable diarrhea. It seemed that the presence of ARC signaled that outright AIDS was inevitable. But what phase of the AIDS disease process did ARC represent? The Center for Disease Control never officially recognized ARC for it’s reporting purposes, but the term was useful in describing what appeared to be on the set of AIDS. Better terminology has followed from medical advances, however, and the symptoms of what was called ARC are viewed as just another of the AIDS-related illness rather than as a distinct stage of the disease.

INTRAVENOUS DRUG USERS
Heroin addicts have an illegal habit and are dedicated primarily to getting their next fit. Many do not stay in one place long enough to be studied. Most of them would rather use their money for drugs than for medical care, so they do not often enter the traditional medical system. Hence, relatively, little is known about the medical condition of those who populate the drug culture.

Striking a needle into your vein after someone else has used it is an easy way to get any infectious diseases that the other person may have. It is like giving yourself a transfusion of infected blood. That is why IV drug users have a high rate of hepatitis, a blood disease that is lethal if left untreated. That is why they become the second group among whom AIDS rapidly spread. Within a year of the onset of the epidemic, almost 20% of AIDS patients were found to be IV drug users. But most IV drug users are heterosexuals. Many female addicts resort to prostitution to support their habit. An infected prostitute can spread AIDS to any of her customers, and those men can spread it to any women or men they later have sex with. Former addicts can also transmit AIDS to any person they have a sexual relationship with, if they acquired the AIDS infection while they are using drugs.

From these mysterious and frightening beginnings among gay men and IV drug users, AIDS was about to show its versatility by appearing in several new population groups. Indeed, epidemiologists were anticipating this development. If the new syndrome could be spread by sex between two men, they asked themselves, might it also be transmitted by sex between a man and a woman? And if it could be spread by blood on contaminated needles used by heroin addicts, could it be spread by blood used for medical purposes, such as during surgery? The answers to both questions turned out to be affirmative.

Between the end of 1981 and the end 1982, several new groups were rapidly identified who were at greatly increased risk for contracting AIDS. They were as follows:
*Women who had sex with men who had the AIDS infection.

*Babies born to women infected with the AIDS virus.

*Hemophiliacs who injected blood products containing a clotting factor.

*Surgery patients who were transfused with contaminated blood.

*Newly arrived immigrants from Haiti and their sexual contacts.

In each instance, transmission was either sexual contact or through receiving infected blood. It is essential to recognize that as each risk group was identified, it fit one of these patterns of transmission. There was no group of unexplained AIDS cases that could have been spread by casual contact, such as being sneezed on by person with AIDS or eating food prepared by a person with AIDS. From May 1981 to the present, all evidence has confirmed that AIDS is spread only by intimate contact, not by the day-to-day, public encounters we all have in our business and social lives.

But with the regard of the two ways that AIDS is transmitted, blood and sex, it is clear the illness does not select particular groups to afflict. It does not matter if you whether you are a man or women, or what type of lifestyle you practice. If you are injected or transfused with contagious blood or take into your body other contagious bodily fluids, such as vaginal secretions or semen, you run a high risk of getting AIDS. Minute amounts of these fluids pose very little threat to transmitting the virus, and most nongenital fluids, such as saliva, are currently thought to pose no risk whatsoever of transmitting it. There is, however, a theoretical risk involved when any fluid is passed from an infected person, though the relative risk is extremely small. Research is still being done to prove these conjecture. 80 percent of babies HIV positive did not develop AIDS although, their mother had AIDS.

HEMOPHILIACS
There are several diseases in which the blood does not clot properly. Those born with these conditions lack one of the many elements in the blood that are essential to stop bleeding. Hemophilia A is an inherited clotting disorder that afflicts men almost exclusively. In a person with severe hemophilia A, internal bleeding or bleeding into joints can lead to serious complication, possibly even death. Even small cuts clot slowly. It was persons with severe hemophilia A who were at highest risk to get AIDS. To control their bleeding tendency, hemophiliacs inject themselves with a concentrated preparation made from the blood of persons with normal clotting ability. This preparation, called Factor VIII, is credited with increasing the life expectancy of hemophiliacs in the last two decades from 35 to 55 years old. Some hemophiliacs have a mild disorder and use Factor VIII only when they actually have a bleeding episode. But all hemophiliacs depend on it at some point. Factor VIII, which was life saving for hemophiliacs, suddenly turned to be an instrument of death. The preparation is made by pooling blood collected from 2,000 to 5,000donors, then concentrating it, quick-drying it, and putting it in vials. Because so many people’s blood was represented in each vial of Factor VIII, the possibility existed that at least one donor had AIDS or was harboring the AIDS organism-especially because drug users (until concerns were raised about infected donors) often sold their blood for cash. And because each hemophiliac uses 20, 30, or 40 vials of Factor VIIII each year, there was a good chance that he would encounter a contaminated vial sooner or later.

IDENTIFYING THE VIRUS
In particular, no known infectious agent was capable of producing the specific destruction of the immune system that AIDS causes. Underlying all the symptoms of AIDS is one primary defect: loss of a pivotal type of white blood cells called the T4 helper lymphocyte(The role of T4 lymphocytes is to help other types of immune cells become active and do their job. Without the T4 helper cells, the immune system virtually shuts down. And in some AIDS patients there was an almost complete loss of T4 helper cells.
Viruses are the most minute form of life. Some people would not even call viruses living organisms. They are many times smaller than bacteria, the other cause of human infectious disease. Whereas bacteria are independent, able to grow and reproduce outside cells of the organism they infect, viruses are parasites. In order to make more of their kind, viruses must enter the cells of the creature they infect and take over the cellular machinery. They subvert its productive power by making more of their own kind. The cell dies, but the virus thrives. The virus is an intracellular parasite because it’s structure, unlike that of a bacterium, is too rudimentary to sustain itself-it must live within another cell (Bacteria are internally complex, containing all the equipment necessary for life). Viruses contain only the genetic material necessary to propagate themselves and a tightly wrapped protective coat of proteins. These differences lead to a crucial medical distinction between bacteria and viruses. Twentieth-century medical science has developed many antibiotics drugs, such as penicillin, to combat bacterial infections. But viruses are more difficult to kill. Because they reproduce inside of our own cells, it is difficult to find a drug to stop the virus from reproducing without harming the host cell. Progress against diseases caused by viruses-such as small pox, mumps, measles, and polio-has come through vaccines, which prevent infections.

Latency, means that the infection stays in a person’s body for a while before it causes clinical illness. Because viruses can lie dormant inside cells, they can have long latency periods. The latency periods for AIDS-the time between exposure to the infection and the first symptoms-may be as long as eight years, but it is usually three to five years. In children the latency is much shorter, and in women it may be shorter than in men. Persistence refers to how long the infectious agent remains after it starts the disease. With AIDS it is most likely that the agent stays for the person’s remaining lifetime. Despite treatment of each opportunistic infection, the immune system remains impaired. As fast as new immune cells are made they are destroyed.

One tentative conclusion is that a viral ancestor of HIV evolved in Africa millions of years ago and affected monkeys. Gradually it changed to the form of HIV we see today. But this still does not explain why the virus suddenly started causing human disease in the last quarter of the 20th century.

THE OFFICIAL U.S. DEFINITION OF AIDS
There are two factors which determine the category: T-cell count and history of disease of symptoms. The T-cell (officially called CD4+T-lymphocyte) is the vulnerable immune system cell the HIV virus attacks, then uses as a breeding ground. Eventually, the T-cells killed by the virus. As a person’s T-cell count decreases, the risk of severe disease, or opportunistic illness, increases. The three official levels of T-cell counts are:
Level 1: a T-cell count greater than 500cells/ml
Level 2: a T-cell count between 200-499 cells/ml
Level 3: a T-cell count less than 200 cells/ml
These categories are based on the lowest T-cell count registered by a person. For example, someone who once tested at 180 but later received a boost in T-cells from a new protease inhibitor would still be considered level 3. To determine the three official government classifications, symptoms are also a factor. For example, a patient is in AIDS category 1 if he or she is asynmptomatic (no symptoms) and has a level 1 T-cell count. An AIDS category 2 patient has a level 2 T-cell count and at least one of the early stage illness but has not developed a later-stage disease, such as pneumonia or Kaposi’s sarcoma. In category 3-full-blown AIDS-the T-cell count has dropped below 200 and the patient has developed a later-stage disease.

TREATMENT BREAKTHROUGHS
There have been so many attempts to find a solution to end with AIDS but it’s too complex and we know little of it, therefore it’s difficult to find a solution. Although, many experiments have been made for example the cocktail. It’s a treatment of vaccines that combine with an AZT. However, this vaccines does work for some but for others it does not do anything. Yet, the newest discovery is that some people are born with a certain type of gene that does not develop AIDS but has the virus. So this person may pass on the Virus and have it himself but it will not affect him at all.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1-INTRODUCTION
2-WHAT IS AIDS?
3-WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
4-KAPOSI’S SARCOMA
5-WHY HOMOSEXUALS?
6-PUZZLING SYMPTOMS
7-INTRAVENOUS DRUG USERS
8-HEMOPHILIACS
9-IDENTIFYING THE VIRUS
10-THE OFFICIAL U.S. DEFINITION OF AIDS
11-TREATMENT BREAKTHROUGHS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
– Check, William. The Encyclopedia of Health AIDS. Chelsea House Publishers; Philadelphia: 1999
– Encarta Encyclopedia 97AIDS Microsoft Windows.

– Center For AIDS Prevention Studies:www.caps.ucsf.edu(March 1, 2000)
– JAMA HIV/AIDS Information center:www.ama.assn.org/special/hivhome.htm
(March 1,2000)
– International Association Of Physicians in AIDS Care:www.iapac.org/ (March 1,2000)
Science Essays

Aids

.. AIDS from handshakes, hugs, coughs, sneezes, sweat, tears, mosquitoes, or other insects, pets, eating food prepared by someone else, or just being around an infected person. A person can’t get it from sharing a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, drinking from the same fountain, or from someone spitting on him or her. A person also can’t get it from using the same swimming pools, toilet seats, phones, computers, straws, spoons, or cups. Although the virus has been found in saliva, medical opinion states there is no evidence of contamination through wet kissing(What are HIV/AIDS 1). HIV is not spread through the air or water, unlike many other viruses(HIV/AIDS 2).

No one has ever caught AIDS by going to a physician or an eye doctor who has treated AIDS patients. No one has ever caught AIDS by eating in a restaurant where AIDS patients have been, nor by sharing a dwelling in which AIDS victims live. No one has caught AIDS by working, studying, or playing with an AIDS patient, unless bodily fluids were exchanged. No one has ever gotten AIDS from an insect bite, even where there are many people with AIDS and even where there are many people with dozens of mosquito bites(AIDS, Understanding 2). HIV is very fragile. It doesn’t live long or well outside the human body.

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It is easily killed with a 1:10 solution of bleach and water. It can be washed from skin with regular soaps. HIV will not survive outside the human body for more than a few hours at the most(Quackenbush 23). If a person thinks he or she might have HIV, he or she can get tested. HIV tests determine the presence of antibodies to the AIDS virus.

Antibodies are proteins produced by certain white blood cells to react with specific viruses, bacteria, or foreign substances that go into the body. The presence of antibodies to HIV indicates infection with the virus. The tests that detect the presence of HIV-1 became widely available in 1985. The tests that detect HIV-2 became widely available in 1992. All infected patients should get blood tests done periodically.

They should also have their health monitored by a physician(Drotman 164). There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, but treatments have been developed. The treatments help most people live longer. The infected people have to take medications to help them keep healthy and possibly postpone the development of AIDS(Johnson 33). Most of the medication has difficult side effects.

Even with all of this, about 18 months after a person has been diagnosed with AIDS, he or she usually get quite sick and require hospital care(AIDS, Understanding 4). Scientists are not sure how, when, or where the AIDS virus originated. Researchers have shown that HIV-1 and HIV-2 are more closely related to simian immunodeficiency viruses than to each other. Simian immunodeficiency viruses infect monkeys. It has been suggested that HIV evolved from viruses that originally infected monkeys in Africa. It was somehow transmitted to people.

There are many arguments to this theory. One is that HIV has only been found in human beings. It has never been isolated from any other animal species. Scientists believe The infection became widespread after significant social changes took place in Africa. Somewhere around the 1960’s and the 1970’s. HIV was isolated as being the cause of AIDS in 1983, and 1984.

Tests were then developed to detect the virus. These tests have been used to analyze stored tissues from people who had undetermined deaths in the 60’s and the 70’s. Scientists found that some of these people died from AIDS. During the 1990’s an estimated one million people in the U.S. had the HIV infection or AIDS.

There are millions more throughout the world(Drotman 165). AIDS deaths has dropped significantly for the first time since the epidemic began in the early 1980’s.They fell 13 percent in the first six months of 1996, to 22,000 people, down from 24,900 deaths in the same period a year earlier, reported by the Centers for Disease Control. The number of people diagnosed with AIDS still continues to grow, but the growth rate is slowing. From 1995 to 1996 the growth rate was less than 2%. The growth rate from 1993 to 1994 was 5%. First signs of drop in deaths of AIDS victims came in January 1997, when New York City reported a 30 percent drop in the number of Aids deaths in 1996.

The Center for Disease Control credits better treatments, new drugs, and better access to treatment through state and federal programs. Some think that the decline is unfortunately only a standstill, because for some patients the new drugs are not effective(Meyer A1). Doctors and researchers have been doing research on the virus. They have studied several drugs that stop the growth of HIV in laboratories. One of the drugs is zidovudine, formerly called azidothymidine and commonly known as AZT.

Research suggest that azidothymidine can delay the onset of opportunistic illnesses. This drug produces toxic side effects. Some other ones are didanosine(ddl), zalcitbine, which was formerly known as dideoxycytidine and commonly called ddc, and stavudine, which is commonly called D4T. These three drugs also produce dangerous side effects. Researchers are investigating treatments to help restore normal function to the immune system.

They believe that any eventual cure must stop the growth of the virus, prevent opportunistic illnesses, and restore the immune system(Drotman 164). Some vaccines are being tested on animals and as of 1993, one is being tested on people who are at very high risk(Nichols 11). Magic Johnson’s HIV is now undetectable, but not absent. Though he is not cured, powerful drugs have reduced the AIDS virus in his body to undetectable levels. Undetectable does not mean absent.

Activists hope that his progress encourages people to get tested and take advantage of improved treatment. Thousands of HIV patients have had their infections recede to undetectable levels after taking drugs called protease inhibitor. Even though a person with undetectable virus levels can still infect other people. Even if the virus is undetectable in blood or semen, it can still be present in other areas such as intestines. Protease inhibitors reduce illnesses in infected people.

These drugs are taken on a strict schedule along with two other AIDS drugs. It requires particular timing. Some drugs must be taken an hour before eating or two hours after. Even with this patients still get side effects. Some of the side effects are nausea, vomiting, headaches, backaches, and gastrointestinal problems.

As many as forty percent of the people who take the concoction of drugs develop a resistance to them either because the virus becomes resistant after years of on other drugs, or because patients don’t or are unable to take the drugs as ordered. These wonder drugs are expensive costing between $12,000 and $15,000 a year. Although these drugs are expensive it is still worth prolonging a person’s life. The virus infects children and newborns, too. Newborns become quite ill by age 1, because their immune system has not fully developed.

Most babies that are infected die by 18 months(Quackenbush 23). Today kids need to know about HIV and AIDS. They need to know how a person gets the virus, how it is spread, how they won’t get it, what it is, how they can protect themselves from it, and what’s going to happen to them if they get it. The real risk of infection for them is through sexual molestation by an infected adult. There are three main reasons why children need to know. One is natural curiosity.

AIDS is now an undeniable part of the world. They are curious about the world. They have questions about the world. Another reason is the anxiety children may have about the disease. They understand that AIDS is a very serious disease. The thing they don’t understand is the concept of not casually transmitted.

The final reason is some children have family members or friends with HIV or AIDS. The kids that have an infected family member or friend face many personal challenges. They get harassed by their peers because their peers don’t know what HIV or AIDS is. They think that the kid has cooties or something. Children need to know about HIV and AIDS so they can understand and so they don’t harass other kids about it(Quackenbush 27).

In the United States, federal, state, and local government have provided funds for education, treatment, and research of AIDS. Public health clinics have counseling and HIV-antibody testing to people who have symptoms or are at risk of infection(Drotman 164). Community organizations hope that greater awareness will lead to more compassion and more funding. One project is the AIDS quilt. It was begun in 1986 by an organization called the NAMES Project.

This quilt consists of thousands of individually designed panels, which memorializes a person who died of AIDS. This quilt has been displayed in many cities throughout the world(Drotman 164). AIDS has killed many people. People need to be more aware and protect themselves so they don’t become another statistic, because HIV and AIDS are serious, deadly, and they will be with us for a long time. There will not be a cure found anytime soon, but hopefully there will be a cure found. Medicine Essays.

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