HIV Epidemiology Health, Medicine, Nursing Essay Paper (Essay Sample)
Since the discovery of HIV in the 1980s, it has continued to be one of the most significant public health problems in many countries. Over the decades, over 1 million victims in the US alone have been infected, while an estimated 14 percent remain unaware of their status (Young et al.,2017). The high prevalence of HIV in some countries has caused a considerable burden on the people’s social-economic status.
* Causes of HIV
The disease is caused by a virus that weakens the human immune system by attacking CD4 T-cells. The virus embeds itself into the body’s DNA mechanism making it almost impossible to treat without damaging the cells. As the infection continues to kill and weaken the immune cells, opportunist diseases enter the body causing AIDs.
HIV initially has flu-like symptoms, which may cause mild coughing and a feeling of sickness. After about two weeks, these symptoms may disappear, leaving the virus to continue damaging the immune system. Due to this effect, as mentioned above, an estimated 14 percent of people in the US are unaware that they harbor the virus (Young et al.,2017). However, an infected person may show symptoms belonging to opportunistic diseases such as tuberculosis.
* Mode of Transmission
HIV is transmitted when an individual comes into contact with a person or an object with the virus. These modes are mainly biological. A person can acquire the virus through sexual contact, sharing sharp objects, and perinatal transmission (Jones et al.,2019). Sexual contact among HIV positive people also increases their viral load.
Since HIV embeds itself with the host’s DNA, it is not treatable but is managed by antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). The ARVs work to mitigate the spread of the virus by stopping replication. When the multiplication of the virus is slowed, the immune system can regenerate and fight it. In most cases, the ARVs are taken daily, and the patient may require a specialized diet to boost their immunity. However, the dosage of the ARVs includes a combination of drugs due to drug resistance. This form of management aims to ensure that the viral load is reduced to undetectable levels.
* Demographics of HIV (Prevalence)
According to Eilami et al. (2019), over 39 million people are HIV positive globally, with an estimated 2 million new infections per year. Over 60 percent of the people living with HIV are in Africa, while the remaining 40 percent is distributed in other countries, with Europe and Asia leading. The prevalence in Europe and the US is attributed to increased unprotected same-sex relationships. Additionally, in many low-income countries, the prevalence is high due to sex workers.
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