HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that effects both men and women of all ages. It has an impact on many people’s lives either by themselves being infected, knowing someone who is infected, or being a health care worker.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It also effects the blood cells (lymphocytes) and cells of the organs (bone marrow, spleen, liver, and lymph glands). It effects the lungs, central nervous system and gastrointestinal system.
People begin with having the HIV virus. An HIV infected person is likely to stay fit and well for a long time. In time, however the infected person develops rare illnesses or cancers because their immune system is weakened. When this happens, the person now has AIDS. Some people live for several years once they have AIDS, but it is always fatal.
HIV is diagnosed with a blood test known as an HIV antibody test or HIV test. If the test shows that HIV is present, the person is referred to as HIV positive. It may take up to 6 months after contact to show up.
The number of women with HIV and AIDS in the United States is steadily rising. From 1985 to 1996, the proportion of reported US AIDS cases occurring among women increased from 7-20% (Women and AIDS). An analysis from the National Cancer Institute estimates that between 107,000 and 150,000 women on the U.S. are living with HIV infection (many of whom have not developed AIDS (Women and AIDS)
AIDS presents a great worry for women. It is the third leading cause of death among women ages 25 to 44 and the leading cause of death among African-American women of the same age group. (Women and AIDS)
Although AIDS cases are reported in all 50 states, the highest rates in 1996 were in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland and Delaware (Women and AIDS)
HIV may not produce any initial symptoms. However, as this disease progresses, symptoms begin to appear. Among them are: fatigue, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, fever, diarrhea, recurrent respiratory and skin infections, swollen lymph glands throughout the body, genital changes, enlarged spleen and mouth sores. Vaginal yeast infections, common and easily treated in most women, are harder to treat in HIV infected women. Bacterial vaginosis and common STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia trichomoniasis, and pelvic inflammatory disease are more common and aggressive in HIV-infected women. Menstrual irregularities, headache, sore muscles and joints, stomach ache and skin rash. Many people mistake some symptoms for the flu. AIDS symptoms also include weight loss, brain tumors and other health problems.
In order to become infected, a person must get a sufficient amount of HIV into their bloodstream. HIV/AIDS is spread though semen, vaginal fluids, menstrual fluids and breast milk. HIV/AIDS is not spread though saliva, sweat glands or urine.
A woman can become infected if she has unprotected penetrative sex vaginal or anal, with a man who has HIV. A woman having vaginal sex with a man who has HIV is 2-3 times more likely to become infected than a man would be if he had vaginal sex with an infected woman (HIV and AIDS).
AIDS is also spread though sharing contaminated needles for IV drug use, transfusions of blood or blood products from a person with AIDS and children born to an infected mother.
Many women in the U.S. have poor access to health care. In addition, women may not perceive themselves to be at risk for HIV infection. Because of this, symptoms that serve as a warning sign of HIV infection may go unheeded (Women and AIDS). Early diagnosis of HIV infection allows women to take full advantage of drug therapies for opportunistic infections, which can forestall the development of AIDS related symptoms and prolong life in HIV-infected people. (Women and AIDS)
There are different theories as to the origin of AIDS. AIDS was identified as a new disease in 1981 (Sowadsky). HIV is believed to have originated in Africa sometime between the late 1940s and the early 1950s from the monkey AIDS virus SIV, (Simian Immudificiency virus) (Sowadsky). The two viruses are very similar and are transmitted the same way. However HIV only causes AIDS in humans, and SIV only causes AIDS in monkeys. The SIV virus is found in blood. HIV must have entered humans via monkey blood. This could’ve happened by humans drinking monkey blood, eating raw monkeys or another direct exposure of monkey blood into humans (Sowadsky).
There are some theories that AIDS is a man-made virus created by the government. According to my references, there is no evidence of this. This issue, however, will probably never be resolved.
Many women are living with the HIV virus. As well as coping with their own virus, they are also trying to take care of family responsibilities. They may also have financial and treatment concerns, as well as a concern whether to have children.
Many women have great concerns whether to have children and the risk of their children of becoming infected. The chance of the virus being transmitted from mother to baby is about one in seven. Most perinatal transmission occurs late in pregnancy or during birth. Some scientists believe HIV may be transmitted when maternal blood enters the fetal circulation or by mucosal exposure to the virus during labor and delivery (Women and AIDS). Other factors that may increase the risk of perinatal transmission are maternal drug use, severe inflammation of fetal membranes, or a prolonged period between membrane rupture and delivery (Women and AIDS).
There are many things that we can do to try to prevent the spread of AIDS. We can avoid sexual contact with infected people and known IV drug users. Condoms should always be used. Avoiding unscreened blood product and un-steralized IV drug needles can also reduce the risk.
“HIV and AIDS: Information for Women.” International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care. 21 March 1999.
“Women and HIV” Health Square. 21 March 1999.
Sowadsky, Rick . “The Origin of the AIDS Virus” The Body: An AIDS and HIV Information Resource. 21 March 1999.
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HIV and AIDS are one of the worlds most serious and deadly diseases. The disease HIV is spread most commonly by sexual contact with an infected partner. AIDS is caused by the progession of HIV virus. AIDS is a disease that causes a mass reduction in CD4+ T cells. As the cells continue to drop in number, the immune system deteriorates, and individuals suffer from a multiple of related deseases, and eventully dies( Slowik, 2002). UNAIDS estimates that approximately 60 million people have been infected since the beginning of the epidemic, a significant proportion of these individuals reside in Sub Saharan Africa. An epedic of HIV and AIDS has a significant impact on the ecomony of a country(Slowic,2002). This essay in particular will focus specifically on the the effects of hiv and aids on the economy of South Africa. Aids effects the ecomony of South Africa by increasing the number of orpans and charity groups, by raising the cost of health care and education, and lowering the countries GNP.
The HIV and Aids epidemic will produce a large number of South African Orphans. In 1997, 12.91 percent of South African adults suffered from HIV or AIDS. In 1998 South Africa had close to 700,000 AIDS orphans, and by 2005 14 percent of South African children will have lost their parents to AIDS (Hunter-Gault, 2002)
After the death of the parents; relatives, volunteer groups, and ministers assist the orphaned children. Since there are no state run orphanges, charity groups must raise funds and set up orphages. The orphanges are often overcrowded and lack supplies. One orphanage in Soweto is descibed as a former pigsty with uncovered rooms. Other organizations make door to door deliveries. The Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry for example, is Soweto-based volunteer group that looks after over 100 AIDS orphans. The group provides meals, pays the electricity and telephone bills, provides donations for school transportation, finds businesses to pay for school uniforms and fees, and donate clothing. Those who do not reside in orphanages, reside with the extended family. One woman known as Mama Jila manages a clan of 17 childeren. As a mother of seven, she inherited six grandchildren from two of her own children who give way to AIDS. The others are from several more other relatives. The woman atmits to getting help from neighbors and charity organizations but sais: “its not enough to keep all the children in school or even to clothe them properly.”
Although parentless children living in orphanges and in the crowded homes of relatives may seen like a socail problem it leads way to a number of economic problems. Parentless children lead to increased spending in welfare and state supported orphanage programs. Most of the childrens families are too poor to support another child and the majority fall through the cracks of the child welfare system.
Another economic effect of HIV and aids in South africa is the increase need for trained medical professionals. South Africa has estimated 5.3 million people infected with the AIDS virus, more than in any other country(Itano, 2002). With the number of citizens infected,funding and labor are streched to the limit. The intense labor conditions and lack of adequate pay, has caused a large amount of South African doctors and nurses to emigrate. Many say that the they care for over 40 patients per day and are significanly under paid. One doctors saids that the averege workload in Britin is 6 patients per day, with atleast three times the pay. The South African Medical Association estimates that at least 3,500 of its 26,000 practicing doctors are living abroad. The shortage is only expected to get worse, 10 percent of doctors surveyed by the South African Medical Journal said they may leave within the next five years, and 1 in 3 new doctors doing their required one-year community service said they plan to emigrate(Itano 2002).
The staggering presence of Hiv/aids has also increased the spending in health care and prevention. Already, two-thirds of the country’s total spending on health care. According to a recent government study, the cost of treating all AIDS patients in the country by 2010 will be $2.4 billion to $3 billion per year. The Aids epidemic has also decreased the profits of many drug manufacters(Murphy, 2003). Many phamacuitacal companies have donated Aids treatment medications. In 1996, Pfizer donated the drug Diflucan to South Africa. The daily dose of Diflucan costs about $15 in South Africa. At an annual income of $6000, $15 is more than the country’s poor can afford. Activist groups are also demanding companies to lower prices in South Africa. The Thai price of the generic AZT is about 70 cents, while the South African government pays about $7.50(Boyd, 2003).
Aids also cost South Africa in Gross National Product or (GNP). GNP is the total market value of goods and services produced by all citizens and capital during a given period (usually 1 yr)(Johnson 2000). In 1996 Aids cost the country almost 8% of GNP. By 2005 the South African government estimates that AIDS will costs the country 2% of GNP each year(Choynce 1999). Aids also effects the productivity of proffesionals such as civil servants, engineers, teachers, miners, and military personnel. The presence of Aids has decreased the work force, affected productivity and increased monies spent by companies on heath care. Some companies hire two people for every position assuming that one will most likely die from Aids. The work force has also decreased because young women are having to drop out of school to act as substitute laborers and care givers for HIV infected parents.
HIV and AIDs Effect the econmy of South Africa by increasing the spending on welfare programs, increaseding spending on heath care and education, and by decreasing the Gross National Product. Economic implications can be lessened by preventing new infections, Designing major development project appropriatly, and by mitigating the effects of Aids on poverty. To prevent the spead of disease South Africas should implement prograns hat educate the population on the spead of disease, provide free counciling, testing and condoms. In 1997 a simular program estimated that 237 new infectons were preventedand the use on condoms increased to 29 percent from 13 percent(Bollinger, Stover, 1999). Designing major development projects appropriately an also prevent new infections. Major construction programs require workers to spend long periods away from home, which increase prostitution. Specail villiges could be built around construction areas so that workers can live with their families. Finally, the effect of aids could be lessened by providing home health care to aids patients and implementing fostercare programs for orphans. Seventy-eight percent of middle class families said that they would be willing to take in foster children if they were extended some financial support(Bollinger, Stover, 1999).
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