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Sunday, November 6, 2016
When I started this project I thought AIDS was a simple disease with a simple cause. “Have sex with multiple partners with no protection? Congratulations, you now have an incurable disease that will most likely cause a horrible death.” But, I now know it is way more complex than that. Here’s what I have learned about AIDS over the last ten weeks.
AIDS is more than just a couple bumps here and there in your genital regions. AIDS can affect so many more parts of the body than just the places where multiple persons’ genitals have come in contact with multiple other people’s genitals. And AIDS isn’t spread only by having unprotected sex. Babies can be born with it as a result of the actions of their parents. However unfair that is, it’s a fact of life that needs to be dealt with. The more I dug into this complex disease, the more I wanted doctors to find a cure for it.
One part of the body that AIDS affects is the neurological system. I know I have already written about it, but that truly blew my mind how heavy an impact AIDS has on the brain. This fact scares me quite a bit. If the brain dies, a person would be left with nothing. Just one more reason to find a cure for this horrible disease.A friend of mine was trying to help me figure out what to write about how to cure this disease and we started talking about being more proactive. People already know about the disease. It is not as if we are ignoring its existence, but we are choosing to turn a blind eye towards the damage AIDS is doing to our population. How many people have died as a direct result of AIDS? Approximately 35 million people. That is a terrifying statistic. People need to be actively fighting against AIDS, and it needs to start in the teens. If we can help end teen AIDS, there will be increasingly less adults in the future giving birth to babies who have the disease. I do not know what the cure is, but if we can at least prevent the younger population from getting the disease, maybe we can fight it in the adults.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016
Teens need to be actively using contraceptives when they are involving themselves in sexual activities. Some teens, especially ones who have not been sexually active for a long time, are extremely timid about getting the needed protection. More simply put, adolescents are embarrassed to go to a store and buy condoms. It is inevitable that without the use of condoms, or other preferred protection, AIDS/HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases will be spread. Therefore, condoms should be made more easily available.
Some schools across the US are taking matters into their own hands to protect their students from AIDS. Several of the eastern states in America are making condoms available to students, with no charge. In most cases, the school offered a vending machine that had condoms in it, however, students did not have to pay a fee to get their condom. They simply pushed a button and it came out. Some studies have shown that with the increase of more available protection, there was a decrease in sexual activity.
When researchers compared smaller schools to larger schools, they discovered an interesting fact. The smaller school had a tendency to use more condoms, and students were more sexually active. However, the larger schools used fewer condoms and the students were not partaking in as many sexual activities. Although students got the protection for free, there was a small stipulation some schools applied to the teens. In order to get the condom, the teen had to participate in a mini sex education/counseling session. Once they finished the session, they could have as many condoms as they wanted.Schools should consider this program. Will all schools allow this? No. In a way, offering condoms so freely could be harmful to students, but one would think the positives would outweigh the negatives. No one is going to be able to completely stop teenagers from having sex, but if the spread of AIDS could be decreased by this simple program, I think, schools should definitely take part in it. AIDS is deadly, this is a simple solution that I think schools across the nation should participate in.
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Sunday, October 23, 2016
The average teen who is sexually active will usually have the mindset that he/she is immune to AIDS. To the mind, it is almost as if there is no way they could contract the disease. There are some things that support this mindset, like protection. Some teens believe if they use a condom every time they have sex, they are invincible; however, this ideology is false. The risk is reduced, but still exists.
Why is it so dangerous for teens to think they are incapable of getting AIDS? The biggest reason I see is they might have unprotected sex more often, which is a sure fire way to get the disease. Most teens, when they are told they have AIDS/HIV go into a state of denial. This is so dangerous because in their mind, if they do not have AIDS, they will sleep with more people, without telling their partner they have a disease. Which, in turn, spreads AIDS to more people and the cycle continues.
Teens can go into different stages of denial. That is, they are unable to cope well with the idea that they have AIDS. this is helpful at first, but then can become an issue. Teens can become angry and take out their anger on those around them; they can also go into a deep depression, which is also unhelpful and dangerous to the health of the teen. They can become anxious and fearful. Although these are just a few of coping issues, there are many more that I will discuss in a later blog.Teens need to be more aware of the people they are having sex with. I think there need to be more questions asked before participating in sexual activities.Obviously, reducing the people we become sexually active with will reduce the possibility of contracting AIDS or other sexually transmitted disease. However, teens, and everyone in general, need to be consciously asking their partners if they have and STD. Also, I think teens need to be able to cope with the new idea of having a disease. There needs to be programs more readily available to help.
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Sunday, October 16, 2016
Human trafficking is a horrible crime which involves the trading of women, girls, boys, men, and teens. There are several types of human trafficking, but I am going to focus on sex and commercial sex trafficking because they are most applicable to AIDS. So, what is sex trafficking exactly? It is forced, fraud, or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or causes a minor to commit a commercial sex act. Commercial sex trafficking includes prostitution, pornography, and sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value, such as, money, drugs, shelter, food, or clothes.
Sex trafficking is, not only a dangerous business to be involved with, but it is also illegal. The teens taken are put into horrible living conditions, and they are forced to perform sexual activities at an almost constant rate. The pressure put onto these teens is relentless. So what makes this such a breeding ground for AIDS? In many cases, condoms are not put into use while having sex. If the teens were having sexual relations with only one partner, protection would not be such a huge dilemma. However, these young people are forced to perform, without protection, with many partners, who also have multiple partners, and so on. Because of the lack of protection, AIDS/HIV spreads at an alarming rate.
That being said, how do we stop this epidemic of evil? We cannot. We will never be able to stop human trafficking because people are evil, and we will always find means around the laws put around them. It is our human nature. If we are unable to stop the crimes from happening, we are incapable to prevent the advancement of AIDS in these sex workers/slaves.
So, what’s my view? Doctors and scientists need to find a cure for AIDS. If we allow this disease to carry on with its effect on humanity, in due time, AIDS will be the number one cause of death on earth. If a vaccination to prevent the disease can be created, and injected into the body at birth, we could put an end to this epidemic. Create an at-birth cure, we can put an end to the infection.CLICK HERE for a blog on Human Trafficking
Sunday, October 9, 2016
As I have previously discussed the effects of AIDS and the complications it lays on the body, I have mentioned a drug, or form of medication, called an antiretroviral. So what is the drug’s purpose? It does not cure or rid the body of the disease, it simply slows rate at which the virus grows. The spread of HIV can be slowed through the slowing of the virus growth. These drugs are generally referred to as ARV.
Antiretroviral therapy is a very effective form a treating HIV. Antiretroviral therapy is also known as ART. When the human body takes one drug for long periods of time, it will grow accustomed to the drug and will create a resistance. Therefore, when a patient is using ART, they are generally prescribed a combination of drugs. The body will become resistant to the therapy if the combination of drugs is used.
Antiretroviral drugs are not a cure for AIDS. Many times patients will think they are cured after taking the medications, but they have false beliefs. There is no cure for AIDS, this medication simply slows down the rate of growth. A blood test is done of the patient to see how much of the disease has seeped into the blood. In some patients, they have such a low level, the disease is almost undetectable. The lower the level, the more healthy the patients tend to be. Also, if a patient is taking ARV, they will be less likely to spread AIDS to their partner(s).In my opinion, I think ARV and ART programs would be very useful. Slowing down the rate at which a disease grows would be more welcoming than letting it completely take over my body. I think it is strange that there can be low amounts of the disease found in the body. One would think that if you had a disease, it would be there and the body would be completely taken over. In a way, AIDS is almost comparable to cancer in that way. Also, since taking the medications reduces the risk of transferring the disease, I would not hesitate.
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Sunday, October 2, 2016
We now know AIDS can affect the brain, but how does a person find out they have a neurological malfunction caused by AIDS? There are many forms of diagnoses physicians can perform on the patient. The first of these is through a medical history exams. The doctor will study the patients medical problems and go from there. If there has never been past complications that could indicate AIDS, then the doctors will go further and do a physical examination. The entire body will be examined by a family doctor, or a specialist.
|Brain imaging results|
There are many different forms of testing for the previously listed complications. Brain imaging is the most commonly used procedure. Through brain imaging, these areas of damages can be seen: inflammation of the brain, internal bleeding/hemorrhaging, tumors(CNS lymphomas), white matter irregularities, etc. Because the neurological functions are so intricate, there must be several examination types. Some of these ways are through computed tomography scans (CT scan), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Functions MRI (fMRI), and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). Other alternative ways are electromyography (EMG), a biopsy, which is where skin and tissue samples are tested, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis.
|Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis Procedure|
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Sunday, September 25, 2016
As with any disease, AIDS not only effects the body, but it also has an effect on how the brain works. One of the many downfalls of this is that neurological damage (damage on the brain) can never be reversed. It's a "Once done, always done," kind of deal. There are many ways AIDS has an effect on the brain, some of these include: seizures, headaches, forgetfulness, lack of coordination, coma, learning disabilities, etc. At first, the effects may be minor, but they can become life altering.
There are so many ways AIDS infects the brain, so many, I can not name them all. However, many of the reoccurring effects of the disease are sicknesses. At first, the sickness will seem like an ordinary flu bug. As an example, many people will get "chickenpox", take the medications for it, but never get better. It is at that point where doctors will perform deeper examinations and are able to determine the illness, called herpes zoster virus, is the perpetrator. This virus poisons the brain and causes it to produce encephalitis and myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord). This virus is only one of many that cause the brain to malfunction and cause inflictions upon the infected body.
Another common form of infection is AIDS dementia complex (ADC). What is ADC? It a form of dementia that can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of ADC include the following: encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), changes in behavior, and a progressive decrease in cognitive functions, (complications with concentration, memory and attention span). Infected parties can show lack of motor functions and loss of dexterity, as well as, coordination. ADC, when left untreated can be fatal, even when anti-retroviral programs are used. Again, this is only one of many neurological complications of AIDS.
In my opinion, there are too many unknowns with AIDS. For example, scientists are still unable to find a cure for the disease. Sure people could abstain from all sex, but what about the children who are born with it? If researchers could find a cure, or even a way to 'put to sleep', some of the more severe side effects, such as the ones spoken about above, huge progress would be made. There needs to be mandatory testing for AIDS for people who have 'common colds'. If the disease is caught in the early stages, maybe the more severe side effects could be avoided, and lives could be saved.
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Sunday, September 18, 2016
The number one leading cause of teen deaths in Africa is AIDS. The number two cause of teen deaths worldwide is also AIDS. Statistics show that approximately 2,100 teens are infected with AIDS every day. In the year 2013, a study performed by researchers showed that four million adolescents (ages 15-24) were infected, and living, with AIDS. Twenty-nine percent of these young people were under the age of nineteen.
An interesting fact about these infected teens is that most of them are from low to middle class families. Why is this interesting? Because it leads to the assumption that these young people are not getting the sex education they need to protect themselves from this deadly disease. If the infected teens were educated on the subject, not only on sex, but also on how to use protection while having sex, many of these statistics would decrease rapidly. Most low to middles class teens are from third world countries, therefore, are not financially able to get the education they need to protect themselves.
Many teens are born with AIDS. In 2013, it was estimated that nearly 240,000 children were infected by their mothers from breastfeeding, and while baby was still in the tummy. Mothers who have become infected bare their children into the world, and baby is immediately infected with the disease. If baby comes into the world ladened with a disease, he is not going to magically recover. He is going to have to use medications through his entire life. However, this is not ideal. Most families do not have the financial stability to be able to use the medical help.
In my opinion, if a child is born with this disease and his family is not able to get medications for his illness, they should be given some kind of financial help. However, if the mother of the baby is promiscuous and does not use protection when she is 'doing her thing,' the baby should be taken out of her possession and she should be punished severely. Genetic testing should also be an option. Find out if baby has the disease before coming into the world, and find a cure. The baby should not be punished for his parents' unwise decisions. Therefore, if baby grows up to a teen and finds out he is infected, suing the parents should be an option.
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Sunday, September 11, 2016
After many studies on HIV and AIDS, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has proven that gay and bisexual men are at the highest risk to contract AIDS than any other person group. Studies have also shown that out of the bisexaul and gay men, Latinos and African Americans have a higher risk than white men for the disease. It is estimated that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with AIDS within their lifetime. Out of these men,1 in 2 are black/African Americans, 1 in 4 are Latino or Hispanic, and 1 in 11 will be white. Although the statistics are high, there are preventative actions that can be taken against AIDS.
Many teen men are scared, embarrassed, or simply do not have the funds to be tested for AIDS. That being said, many of these men will get the disease and will never know because they were not tested. Not only is this unfortunate for the teen, but also, for the teen’s partners. If he does not know he has the disease, he will continue to be promiscuous, and will spread the disease to every partner he does not use protection with. Soon, several teens will be contaminated with the disease without knowledge.
Although there has been a little decrease in the percentage of AIDS cases, the statistics are still huge for gay and bisexual men. So, what are the ways to prevent the disease from spreading more? The most dangerous form of sex is anal. If men would use more protection, or abstain from anal sex altogether, there would be less disease. When talking about anal, the receiver is at more of a risk than the giver. There are also medications that can be taken for preventive actions.
In my opinion, if gay and bisexual men are at a higher risk for AIDS, they should be tested more often. If they are not financially able to make testing payments, they should be able to receive help. If a teen spreads his infection to his partner, and the partner was not told of the infection prior, he should be able to sue. If the partner knows and gets infected, it is his own fault and should not be able to sue. I think condoms and other preventive methods should be more freely available, and not only to males, but to all the genders.CLICK HERE for more information
Monday, September 5, 2016
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Human Immuno- Deficiency Virus (HIV) are both sexually transmitted diseases. What is AIDS exactly? According to the dictionary, it is "a disease in which there is a severe loss of the body's cellular immunity, greatly lowering the resistance to infection and malignancy." These disease are transferred through the participation in unprotected sex, having sexual intercourse without condoms. AIDS is quickly spread from person-to-person through several methods, and among different age groups. Unprotected sex is the big problem, as well as, shared drug needles, but sex between adults and teens/children, and children who are born with the disease, are the biggest kickers.
To begin with, protected sex is the only sure-fire way to insure partners will not transfer AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), but even this method is not going to work 100%. Having sexual intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex, (outercourse) with several partners will increase your risk of becoming infected with AIDS. How can you prevent the infection? Use condoms and PrEP. PrEP is used by people who have never had AIDS before and it protects users from getting the disease. Most teens who sleep with multiple partners, without protection, will become infected with the disease.
At the same time, another large cause of the spread of AIDS is through drug use. There are many ways to receive drugs into the human body, one such way is using needles to inject the drug. Many times, one needle will be used by multiple people. If the first person to use the needle is infected with AIDS/HIV, everyone else after who uses the needle, will then become infected, as well. Suddenly, needle by needle, hundreds of people, who may be virgins, are now infected with the disease.
In conclusion, it is my opinion, that these third world countries should be educated on the dire need for medical attention. If not treated, infected adults and teens will die. This vast death among the younger generation will eventually decrease the population and could very well be the downfall of the nations. If a teen is tested AIDS or HIV positive, there should be mandatory medical treatment.
|Testing for AIDS|