AIDS in America Term Paper

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AIDS in America

AIDS is a devastating disease that has ravaged our world over the past twenty years. The issue of AIDS in America is one of much debate that continues to challenge the medical community. The purpose of this discussion is to examine the epidemic of AIDS in America. Our research will provide an in depth analysis of the most infected portion of our society and the tactics that are being implemented to stop the disease from spreading. Let's begin our discussion by defining the disease known as AIDS.

Definition of AIDS

According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine,

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is an infectious disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It was first recognized in the United States in 1981. AIDS is the advanced form of infection with the HIV virus, which may not cause disease for a long period after the initial exposure (latency). Infection with HIV weakens the immune system which makes infected persons susceptible to infection and cancer." (Rowland 1996)

The article goes on to explain that AIDS can be transmitted in several different ways, which include; needle sticks among healthcare workers, sexual contact, transmission during pregnancy and through exposure to contaminated blood. (Rowland 1996) The disease usually attacks the body in one of three ways; autoimmunity, nervous system dysfunction and immunodeficiency. Autoimmunity causes the body to produce antibodies that work against the body's own cells. Nervous system dysfunction causes AIDS related dementia in patients. Immunodeficiency makes AIDS patients more susceptible to several illnesses including herpes and cancer. (Rowland 1996)

American AIDS Statistics

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of Americans currently living with AIDS is around 400,000. The CDC also concedes that there are approximately 200,000 individuals that were diagnosed with AIDS in 2002 and about 80,000 AIDS deaths in the United States in the year 2002. The CDC also reports the following about the status of AIDS in America,

Since the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) became widespread during 1996, trends in AIDS incidence have become less reflective of underlying trends in HIV transmission. AIDS incidence increased throughout the 1980s, declined from the mid-1990s through 2001, and increased 2% in 2002 (compared with 2001). The number of deaths among persons with AIDS continued to decline. During 1998-2002, the estimated number of deaths among persons with AIDS declined 14%. AIDS prevalence (i.e., the number of persons living with AIDS) continued to increase." (The HIV / AIDS Surveillance Report 2002)

Aids in the African-American Community

An article entitled, "The Shocking Truth about the AIDS epidemic in Black America," outlines the devastating impact of AIDS in the African-American community. The article explains that nearly 50% of all new HIV cases are composed African-Americans. (Whitaker 2001) The article asserts that the AIDS epidemic in America is proliferated by shame and misinformation. The author argues that the AIDS epidemic exist in spite of the fact that the amount of AIDS cases in other communities in America have declined. The article explains,

For Blacks age 25-44, HIV / AIDS was the leading cause of death in 1998. Black women account for about 64% of AIDS cases reported among women. Black children under the age of 13 represent almost two-thirds of all reported pediatric HIV cases in the United States... Some blame intravenous drug use and the clandestine escapades of "double-dipping" bisexual men for the disproportionately high incidence of HIV infections in the Black community, particularly among Black women. The sharing of dirty needles does account for up to 35% of the nation's HIV infections, according to the CDC. And HIV-infected men who have unprotected sex with both men and women have certainly helped spread the disease." (Whitaker 2001)

The author contends that the stigma attached to homosexuality in the black community masque the problem of AIDS. Many in the black community do not want to discuss homosexuality and the risks associated with unprotected sex. Many experts feel that the epidemic of AIDS in the black community can not be properly remedied without a comprehensive effort to reach out to the homosexual population within the community. Experts also assert that there must be a safe haven within the community that allows people in the community to discuss aids and sexuality openly and confidentially. (Whitaker 2001)

AIDS prevention in America

One of the most common ways to prevent the spread of AIDS is through education. People must be educated about the…[continue]

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