As I was sitting in the train last week on my commute to school I overheard 2 older ladies talking about AIDS. Being a student interested in medicine I had no shame of eavesdropping in their conversation. A part of me is glad that I did because I found out how arrogant some people may be. One of the ladies said “homosexual’s should get grids since they don’t care what god thinks”. I was ready to say something to the lady but then I realized that rather than saying AIDS she was using the term “grids”. It then clicked in my mind that maybe both of them were not educated on the topic of AIDS, what it really is and how its transmitted besides their statement “homosexuals sinning”. They weren’t informed about AIDS let alone the fact that the disease is not called grids anymore its called AIDS for at least the past 10 years. Or it could be the fact that they didn’t want to change their way of thinking on AIDS. This is an answer I will never know. But there are many people who know what AIDS stands for but many people including me don’t know all the facts about AIDS. So what is AIDS?
AIDS (Acquired Immuno deficiency Syndrome), is a disease that is caused by HIV virus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that attacks and destroys the immune system of our body. HIV is invisible on a microscopic level and can remain alive in a dead body for years. AIDS is the last stage of infection of the virus and it takes at least 10 years to get to that stage. The first case of a person who had AIDS was in 1959 in America. Then there was an outburst of the disease in 1980’s also the decade that people found out such a disease existed. The origin of AIDS is unknown there are many speculations of how it may have emerged but there is no evidence to prove how it really came about. As the disease was more come in homesexual men people assumed AIDS originated from them. To see the time line of AIDS click here.
Researching about AIDS baffled me, did you know AIDS has infected over thirty million people in the world? Over 40% of Botswana is infected today with AIDS and many places in Africa has similar numbers. AIDS does NOT solely affect homosexuals or any particular person based on their ethnicity, race or gender. AIDS can’t be reversed or cured it can be controlled by medicine that enables people to live a nearly normal life. AIDS/HIV is transmitted through body fluids.To read more about how AIDS is trasmitted click here. Sadly in Africa proper treatment is not as available as it is in other countries and everyday people die from this disease. In 2005 2.3 million people died in Sub-Saharan Africa that is a small part of the world. There are so many people dieing from AIDS every year yet there is no cure.
Now you must be wondering why there isn’t a vaccine/cure formed especially since its been 3 decades since we have found out about this disease’s existence. People like Bill Gates have donated millions of dollars to find a cure but we still haven’t found a cure. Its because HIV infects a specific kind of white blood cells in our body called CD4 lymphocyte. HIV is very sneaky because it infect the cells in our body that are suppose to attack viral infections. In the CD4 cells HIV replicates when they are triggered by an infection and some of the HIV infected cells become inactive and go into a resting mode. The HIV drugs we have don’t affect the HIV resting cells and eventually they become active and once again they replicate and quickly spread throughout the body.This is why the current HIV treatments don’t cure HIV it only controlls it. The best way we can controll AIDS till a cure is found is by raising awarness of it and its effects. That was my main goal while writing this article. Hopefully I can raise a little more awarness about AIDS. Below are more interesting articles I found that are worth reading. Enjoy!