Aids Essay Research Paper AIDS is a — страница 2

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using a simple blood test. The Types of AIDS Infection: When the AIDS virus gets into a person’s body, the results can be broken down into three general types of situations: AIDS disease, ARC, and asymptomatic seropositive condition. The AIDS disease is characterized by having one’s immune system devastated by the AIDS virus. One is said to have the *disease* if one contracts particular varieties (Pneumocystis, for example) of pneumonia, or one of several particular varieties of otherwise rare cancers (Kaposi’s Sarcoma, for example). This *disease* is inevitably fatal. Death occurs often after many weeks or months of expensive and painful hospital care. Most folks with the disease can transmit it to others by sexual contact or other exposure of an uninfected person’s

blood to the blood or semen of the infected person. There is also a condition referred to as ARC (”Aids Related Complex”). In this situation, one is infected with the AIDS virus and one’s immune system is compromised, but not so much so that one gets the (ultimately lethal) cancers or pneumonias of the AIDS disease. One tends to be plagued by frequent colds, enlarged lymph nodes, and the like. This condition can go on for years. One is likely to be able to infect others if one has ARC. Unfortunately, all those with ARC are currently felt to eventually progress to getting the full blown AIDS disease. There are, however, many folks who have NO obvious signs of disease what so ever, but when their blood serum is tested they show positive evidence of having been exposed to the

virus. This is on the basis of the fact that antibodies to the AIDS virus are found in their blood. Such “asymptomatic but seropositive” folks may or may not carry enough virus to be infectious. Most sadly, though, current research and experience with the disease would seem to indicate that EVENTUALLY nearly all folks who are seropostive will develop the full blown AIDS disease. There is one ray of hope here: It may in some cases take up to 15 years or more between one’s becoming seropositive for the AIDS virus and one’s developing the disease. Thus, all those millions (soon to be tens and hundreds of millions) who are now seropositive for AIDS are under a sentence of death, but a sentence that may not be carried out for one or two decades in a significan fraction of

cases. Medical research holds the possibility of commuting that sentence, or reversing it. There is one other fact that needs to be mentioned here because it is highly significant in determining recommendations for safe sexual conduct which will be discussed below: Currently, it is felt that after exposure to the virus, most folks will turn seropositive for it (develop a positive blood test for it) within four months. It is currently felt that if you are sexually exposed to a person with AIDS and do not become seropositive within six months after that exposure, you will never become seropositive as a result of that exposure. Just to confuse the issue a little, there are a few folks whose blood shows NO antibodies to the virus, but from whom live virus has been cultured. Thus, if

one is seronegative, it is not absolute proof one is not exposed to the virus. This category of folks is very hard to test for, and currently felt to be quite rare. Some even speculate that such folks may be rare examples of those who are immune to the effects of the virus, but this remains speculation. It is not known if such folks can also transmit the virus. Transmission of AIDS: The AIDS virus is extremely fragile, and is killed by exposure to mild detergents or to chlorox, among other things. AIDS itself may be transmitted by actual virus particles, or by the transmission of living human CELLS that contain AIDS viral DNA already grafted onto the human DNA. Or both. Which of these two mechanisms is the main one is not known as I write this essay. But the fact remains that it

is VERY hard to catch AIDS unless one engages in certain specific activities. What will NOT transmit AIDS? Casual contact (shaking hands, hugging, sharing tools) cannot transmit AIDS. Although live virus has been recovered from saliva of AIDS patients, the techniques used to do this involved concentrating the virus to extents many thousands of times greater than occurs in normal human contact, such as kissing (including “deep” or “French” kissing). Thus, there remains no solid evidence that even “deep” kissing can transmit AIDS. Similarly, there is no evidence that sharing food or eating utensils with an AIDS patient can transmit the virus. The same is true for transmission by sneezing or coughing. There just is no current evidence that the disease can be transmitted