The Nature Transmission Prevention And Treatment Of — страница 4
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However, just because one does not participate in any of these risky activities does not mean that he should not be careful. As stated before, one cannot tell if somebody has AIDS by looking at him. Therefore, people must be careful and protect themselves. Now that we know the methods of transmission, and the prevention of AIDS, we need to know what kind of treatments are available in case AIDS is acquired. One way to treat AIDS is by using a drug called retrovir zidovudine or asizidothymidine, which is commonly referred to as AZT. As stated earlier, AIDS is an incurable disease. There is also no vaccine for AIDS. The drug AZT can delay the progression of AIDS in some patients. “Clinical benefits from AZT may be apparent within six weeks of therapy; and continued treatment prolongs survival” (Stine 131). Also, new research shows that women with AIDS who receive AZT drug therapy during their pregnancies and give birth a C-section delivery may be providing their babies the best protection against HIV infection. Unfortunately, the drug?s capability to prolong the life of an AIDS patient declines with time. Also, this drug does not stop the spread of HIV to other people. There are also other medicines available, and many are still in testing. Another form of treatment is alternating therapy. Alternating therapy consists of taking different drugs on and off. It gives people?s bodies an opportunity to mend from the side effects of each drug. Patients can alternate between AZT and other drugs. It is possible in some cases, not to suffer any side effects if the alternating drugs are taken correctly. Side effects can also be stopped before they start if alternating therapy is used. A further method of treatment for AIDS is treatment of the opportunistic infections caused by the breakdown of the immune system. Most commonly, people die from the cancers and other opportunistic infections caused from AIDS rather than from the virus itself. “The most common opportunistic infection seen in AIDS is Pneumocytis carinii pneumonia (PCP), which is caused by a fungus that normally exists in the airways of all people” (Microsoft Corporation 4). This is a serious, life-threatening disease. Therefore, the better the infections are treated, the longer the person may live. The bad point of this is, “treatment for an OI is lifelong because of relapse if it is stopped” (Stine 116). Since the immune system is what is being attacked, the body cannot fight off the disease without drugs. If treatment for opportunist infections is stopped, a relapse is almost definite. Some of the newest treatments include more antiviral therapies, immune system boosters, and triple drug therapy. These are still in testing. Each new approach and drug must be extensively evaluated for safety and effectiveness. So far, the immune boosters are not very effective. These are used to help the immune system fight off HIV. However, the triple drug therapy, which consists of indinavir, zidovudine, and lamivudine, have been prosperous. Triple drug therapy, also known as cocktail therapy, can suppress HIV for at least two years. The main problem with these drugs is that testing is a long process. There have been many derogatory comments towards the FDA, or Federal Drug Administration, concerning the length of testing. Therefore, policies have changed in order to give quicker approval. However, “early availability of a drug entails the risk that it may be used in people before its toxicity and side effects are fully understood” (Stine 337). However, many people with AIDS are willing to take this risk with the hope that the drug may prove effective. In conclusion, AIDS is an incurable disease with few treatments, caused by HIV, transmitted by way of bodily fluids. AIDS is mainly transmitted through sex and sexual activities, and by sharing hypodermic drug needles. Sexual transmission is most dangerous if there are many sexual partners, and if there is not use of a condom. Transmission via blood transfusions has become almost absent, thanks to blood screenings. Scientists are working hard on treatments and are working for a cure, however, it is lacking to be found. A World Health Organization official says, “AIDS…will test our fundamental values and measure the moral strength of our cultures” (Bevan 6). We are the only ones who can stop this pandemic. There is a way. “Curable? No. Treatable? To a limited extent. Preventable? By a vaccine, no – but by changing our behavior, yes. This is how we must fight AIDS. … Prevention is better than cure. And when there?s no cure, prevention is all we have” (Bevan 46, 56).