HIV, also known as the human immunodeficiency virus, is a chronic, life-threatening illness that affects a person’s life in terms of maintaining the condition’s complexity and the possibility of death (Simoni et al. 381). It is also a sexually transmitted disease that affects the human immune system, specifically the T cells (CD4), blocking them from guarding the body against illnesses. When HIV is not treated, the number of T cells in the body decreases to the point that they are unable to combat pathogens that function as opportunists, ultimately leading to death. When the human body is unable to fight illness, it indicates that the T cell count is less than 200 cells/mm3. Therefore, an individual is diagnosed with AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). This essay further elaborates on the disease, its spread and the required treatment.
HIV is a mutation of Simian Immunodeficiency condition that came from a chimpanzee bite back in Central Africa. In the 1800’s the virus expanded across Africa to the US in 1970 (El-Sadr et al. 998). In 1982, the health officials dubbed the condition AIDS. However, later after discovering that the disease logs itself in the body’s fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk, scientists renamed it to HIV. Usually, HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse. The virus could also be transferred from the mother to the child while breastfeeding or during birth processes (Sharp and Hahn 259). There are several ways which HIV could be spread. For instance, when an infected person shares sharp objects like needles and razor blade with another individual, then the virus will be transmitted to the other person.
Signs and Symptoms
Different sign and symptoms of this disease also depend on the individual. The best way to find out the truth is to undergo a test. During the early stages of this condition, the symptoms have a flu-like experience. These may be night sweats, chills, fever, sore throats, mouth ulcers, and swollen lymph nodes that are observed within two weeks after the infection. In normal circumstances, the condition takes several weeks before the HIV infection is detected when the patient is tested (AIDS n.d.). At this period, the infected people are usually considered to be highly communicable. Later, this initial stage becomes the chronic or late one called the HIV infection stage. The length of this phase depends on whether the person is on the antiretroviral medication. This period is known to last for ten years or below. Individuals who don’t use the drugs tend to experience profuse night sweats, rapid weight loss, chronic diarrhea, unexplained tiredness, as well as the anus, mouth and genital sores.
Data Collection by the WHO
According to WHO (World Health Organization), approximately 36.9 people are infected with HIV/AIDS by 2014 and out of the total 2.6 are kids under the ages of 15 years. Two million of these were newly born babies (Nelson et al. 277). In the US alone, a high rate of the spread of the disease is observed as annually about 50,000 people get infected by the diagnosed (AIDS n.d.). When a comparison is done between the ethnic and racial groups in the United States, the HIV is known to affect mostly the African Americans (Nelson et al. 278). For instance, in 2014, Dallas and the African Americans had the highest rate of infection up to 56.4 % per 100,000 people. Across all groups, only African America community had the highest percentage of HIV infected citizens to up to 44% fighting AIDS. In Dallas, it is estimated that 35.9% of all ages per 100,000 people live with HIV (Brawner 638). Men were among the most frequently infected with the condition compared to women because most of them had sex with other men. This accounted for 73.5% of those newly diagnosed with HIV (Brawner 640).
CDC (The Current Surveillance Method)
CDC is a center that gives and upholds data concerning the trends of HIV in the United States. Also, it assists and finances the health departments by analyzing the collected information in different locations. Laboratories, on the other hand, apply CDC to report all people that are tested positive in the HIV demographic, personal history, residence, clinical status, and treatment. The collected data is then scrutinized by CDC to group the information according to race, age, sex, transmission category and jurisdiction (CDC n.d.). Therefore the primary purpose of the CDC is to gather and provide intelligence about the HIV infection, the progression of the disease and the characters of the infected persons (CDC n.d.). The HIV/AIDS illness, according to the Centers for disease prevention and control, is categorized as a killer disease because of the lack of effective medication.
Diagnosis and Screening of HIV
Currently, there is no recognizable cure for HIV, but there are various ART regimes that have a proper diagnosis and treatment which are known to give the patient the potential of living a long and healthy life. They also help reduce the spread of the infection from one person to another. In the US, there are several health cares where people voluntarily present themselves to different clinics, hospitals, labs or even to an online test (Bylander 444). Despite the fact that it is not mandatory, most pregnant women are usually advised to take the HIV test because of the baby delivery process. Individuals that are sexually active or engage themselves in high-risk behaviors are mostly encouraged to regularly screen themselves.
The HIV diagnostic test is usually conducted in three ways. These are antibody, antigen tests, and nuclear acid (Bylander 447). The antibodies, in this case, detect the presence of proteins that help fight HIV, while the RNA and antigen tests detect the spread of HIV in the human body. Lastly, the follow-up diagnostic procedure purposely recognizes the virus and other antibodies that might be against HIV (Branson 102). At home, patients could also make use of the test kits that allow one to send their blood sample to the nearest lab within twenty-four hours. According to Branson (104), the strategies of HIV testing can be performed by any person who is willing to increase and access the effectiveness of the diagnosis as well as the potential of decreasing the infection.
When people are leading a lifestyle that is full of risks of acquiring HIV, the PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) comes in handy because it lowers the chances of one getting infected. As appropriately prescribed by a medical practitioner, it is highly effective in preventing the spread, however the poor or inconsistent use reduces its efficiency. The PrEP decreases the contamination risk by 70 percent, when compared to the patients who take injections for HIV prevention (CDC n.d.). Young volunteers between the ages of 18 and 75 are assigned with the responsibilities to go to the communities that had the LGBTQ to reduce the spread of the HIV killer disease. The LGBTQ societies have also been equipped with healthcare facilities to help overcome the social stigma that entails the use of PrEP among the lesbians and gay (CDC n.d.).
The Epidemiology Analysis
In Canada and the US, the HIV infection continues to disproportionately spread among the African American communities where nearly half of the population is infected with AIDS. The primary reason for the rapid spread is that the racial group in question is believed to engage in sexual diseases more than any other (Nelson et al. 274). Further social factors like education, access to health care systems, religious beliefs, oppression and family dynamics are seen to be the leading causes of the of HIV/AIDS expansion (Nelson et al. 279). According to UNAIDS, the HIV is one of the most severe health issues that affect the development of individuals (Nelson et al. 276). Globally, in 2015, at least 36.7% people had HIV. Statistically, an estimated 78 million people of the world population live with HIV, and 35 million are known to have died with AIDS-related illnesses.
One of the most effective ways of combating the spread of HIV infection is by practicing safe sex as well as undergoing a routine test to know the status. The prevention of this killer condition in the African American communities takes more efforts which may include the mass wide-spread prevention and education techniques. This way general knowledge concerning the condition will be spread. Another practice is to offer free-testing and low cost on-site individual counseling to encourage citizens getting to know their health status (Jolly et al. 61).
The epidemic of HIV disease as elaborated in the essay is known to kill a lot of people, particularly the African Americans. Beyond risky sexual practices, various factors contribute to its spread expansion. Despite the fact that HIV/AIDS has no cure, there are several ways to prevent it. These are choosing a monogamous life, leading safe sex relationships, abstinence from sex or the use of the PrEP drug. Through the identification of specific multilevel factors that contribute to the spread of HIV, one can curb the epidemic through appropriate education and treatment. The best and the most efficient ways of preventing HIV are mass communication and training.
AIDS: US Department of Health & Human Services. What is HIV/AIDS? hiv.gov, 17 May 2017. Retrieved from https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/what-is-hiv-aids/
Branson, Bernard. “The future of HIV testing.” AIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, vol. 55, no. 2, 2010, pp. 102-105.
Brawner, Bridgette. “A multilevel understanding of HIV/AIDS disease burden among African American women.” JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, vol. 43, no. 5, 2014, pp. 633-643.
Bylander, Jessica. “Mapping the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Health Affairs, vol. 33, no. 3, 2014, pp. 427-447.
CDC. “AIDS in the United States by geographic distribution: CDC HIV/AIDS facts.” PsycEXTRA Dataset, doi: 10.1037/e617962010-001.
El-Sadr, Wafaa, et al. “AIDS in America – forgotten but not gone.” The New England journal of medicine, vol. 362, no. 11, 2010, pp. 967-1007.
Jolly, David, et al. “Concurrency, and other sexual risk behaviors among black young adults in a southeastern city.” AIDS Education & Prevention, vol. 28, no. 1, 2016, pp. 59-76.
Nelson, LaRon, et al. “Your blues ain’t like mine considering integrative antiracism in HIV prevention research with black men who have sex with men in Canada and the United States.” Nursing Inquiry, vol. 21, no. 4, 2014 pp. 270-292.
Sharp, Paul, and, Beatrice Hahn. “Origins of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.” Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, 2011, pp. 200-250.
Simoni, Jane, et al. “Challenges in addressing depression in HIV research: Assessment, cultural context, and methods.” AIDS Behavior, vol. 15, no. 2, 2011, pp. 376-388.