The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome otherwise called AIDS is undoubtedly a threatening disease in Nigeria inspite of the fact that some people will believe it is a myth meant to scare people from enjoying themselves. However, medical practitioners have confirmed that AIDS is actually present in Nigeria.
There are still controversies about how AIDS developed and where it developed from. For some racial reasons, the whites have claimed that AIDS developed in Africa through a sexual union between man and some other animals. Of course, Africans have denied this and strongly maintained that AIDS did not and in fact could not have developed in Africa. Their argument is based on the fact that its spread was initially more rampant in the western world. However, the problem is no longer where AIDS developed from, but how to stop its harmful effects on the human race.
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AIDS is caused by the HIV virus which destroys the immunity of the body against disease. This means that once a patient gets the virus, the virus destroys all antibodies. Medically, every human body contains white blood cells which protect the body against harmful diseases. However, once the virus is contracted, it destroys the body immunity provided by the white blood cells and renders the body helpless against infectious disease.
Medical research has further shown that the virus can be contracted through a number of ways. The most popular mode of contracting the infectious disease is through casual sex or having sex with somebody who already has the virus. Other means of contracting the virus is through the transfusion of infected blood, the use of unsterilized needles or any other sharp object which is itself infected. It is however not medically possible to contract the virus through body contact like handshake with an infected person. The virus can also not be contracted through food or water. In spite of the awareness programme of the government on the need to avoid this incurable disease, more cases of its infection are heard every day.
The patient infected with the virus does not die immediately. The virus in the patient continues to develop and destroy vital body immunity organs until it develops into a full blown AIDS when it has virtually destroy all body immunity. At this stage, the patient cannot resist any minor infection because his body immunity has been destroyed. This is when an AIDS patient dies although this may take up to eight years after the patient originally contracted the virus.
Despite frantic scientific researches, no cure has been found for AIDS. Claims and counter claims by researchers have proved that the cure for it still eludes man. As a result, the best way to minimize its effect is to abstain from contracting the disease. This can be done by keeping to only one sexual partner and refusing to accept blood transfusion until the blood has been certified safe. Also, patients going to the hospital for any medical problem should insist on the use of new or properly sterilized needles and equipment. This way, the spread of AIDS can be stopped. This is most important because if AIDS is allowed to continue it can kill faster than we imagine. It will drastically reduce the population of a country, especially that of the youth.
There’s no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and no cure for AIDS. But it’s possible to protect yourself and others from infection. That means educating yourself about HIV and avoiding any behavior that allows HIV-infected fluids — blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk — into your body.
Everyone must cooperate to eradicate the acquired immune deficiency syndrome for the good of the society.
Written and submitted by- Adeyanju Sunday
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In 1981, a new fatal, infectious disease was diagnosed--AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome). It began in major cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. People, mostly homosexual men and intravenous drug users, were dying from very rare lung infections or from a cancer known as Kaposiâs sarcoma. They have not seen people getting these diseases in numerous years. Soon, it also affected hemophiliacs, blood recipients, prostitutes and their customers, and babies born from AIDS-infected women. AIDS was soon recognized as a worldwide health emergency, and as a fatal disease with no known cure, that quickly became an epidemic. When high-profile victims began to contract the virus, such as basketball star Magic Johnson, the feeling spread quickly that anyone, not just particular groups of people, could be at risk.
AIDS impairs the human bodyâs immune system and leaves the victim susceptible to various infections. With new research, scientists think that the disease was first contracted through a certain type of green monkey in Africa, then somehow mutated into a virus that a human could get. AIDS is a complicated illness that may involve several phases. It is caused by a virus that can be passed from person to person. This virus is called HIV, or Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. In order for HIV to become full-blown AIDS, your T-cell count (number of a special type of white-blood cells that fight off diseases) has to drop below 200, or you have to get one of the symptoms of an AIDS-induced infection.
Most people recently infected by the AIDS virus look and feel healthy. They may not show symptoms for several years, but the condition is eventually fatal. Even though one might not know that they have this deathly disease, and remain apparently healthy, they can still pass it along to others, and they then pass it on to others, etc, until an abundant amount of people are infected. Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, weight loss, skin rashes, a fungal infection of the mouth known as thrush, lack of resistance to infection, and swollen lymph nodes.
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is transmitted through blood, semen, and vaginal fluid. The virus is usually transferred through sexual intercourse, the transfusion of virus-contaminated blood, or the sharing of HIV-contaminated intravenous needles. HIV cannot penetrate intact bodily surfaces, such as skin, and quickly perishes outside the human body. Consequently, AIDS is not spread by casual physical contact. The virus has been found in tears and saliva, but it exists there in such low concentrations that transmission from these body fluids is extremely rare. There are no known cases of AIDS transmission by insects such as mosquitoes or by domestic animals.
The AIDS virus causes so much damage to the immune system that the body becomes open to a variety of opportunistic infections, which are infections that are less harmful to people with normal immune systems, but that take advantage of the breakdown in an AIDS sufferers immune system to produce devastating and eventually lethal diseases. Among the most frequently occurring opportunistic infections are tuberculosis, a type of pneumonia. AIDS sufferers are also more likely to develop certain tumors, particularly Kaposiâs sarcoma, which is an unusual and uncommon form of cancer. The AIDS virus may also attack the nervous system and cause brain and eye damage.
Usually, when the AIDS virus enters the bloodstream, the bodyâs immune system produces antibodies to battle the microorganism. A blood test, known as ELISA test, can detect these antibodies and therefore can indicate exposure to the virus. However, these tests can occasionally give false readings if the body does not make the antibodies yet. The blood tests only begin to give accurate results within two weeks to three months after infection, during which time an infected person may pass the virus to others. Although there is no known cure for AIDS, there are new drugs and medicines that prolong the lives of some HIV-infected patients. These drugs slow down the advancement and progression of the virus for a few months, and sometimes more.
The search for a successful vaccine was, and still is today, pursued in laboratories all around the world. The federal government has already committed more than two billion dollars to research. Meanwhile, the disease continues to spread to different parts of the world. In the United States alone, there are more than 65,000 new cases being reported each year. Since its discovery, AIDS has become one of the worldâs major health problems.
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