A general introduction to HIV/AIDS

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From its first beginnings in the early 1980's, through to the explosion of the epidemic in the USA, the UK and subsequently throughout the world, AIDS has become one of the defining features of modern medicine…

Introduction

From its first beginnings in the early 1980's, through to the explosion of the epidemic in the USA, the UK and subsequently throughout the world, AIDS has become one of the defining features of modern medicine. While more people are infected now than at any other time in the past AIDS has moved form being a proverbial death sentence to being, in some senses at least, a manageable disease, for at least a few years.. HIV is the virus that causes the gradual and eventually total collapse of the immune system that enables AIDS diseases such as pneumocystis pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma and a host of other conditions to affect the patient (Ward, 1998). As the Department of Health (2007) suggests, "anyone can get AIDS .. . AIDS cases have been reported from all age groups, all races, in virtually every country in the world." (State, 2007) . Risk behaviors for becoming infected with HIV are unprotected sex, particularly of an anal nature with multiple partners and needle sharing among injectable drug users.
There is no cure for AIDS, even while a number of drugs have been developed thazt enable the disease to be managed for at least a few years. Presently "80-90% of patients with AIDS have died within 3-5 years after diagnosis with AIDS" (State, 2007). One of the major problems with AIDS is that a person may become HIV positive but remain symptom-free for years. But they are capable of transmitting HIV within days of becoming infected. The lag time between becoming infected and the onset of full-blown AIDS has been one of the most difficult epidemiological factors to overcome (Fan, 2004). ...
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