Archive for the ‘HIV AIDS’ Category

What is AIDS? The Causes and How to Treat Effectively Against HIV

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), a serious disease caused by a virus that lowers the body’s natural protection against infection of other diseases, is known as one of the most dangerous epidemic diseases in the 20th century. According to the WHO report in July 2008, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981, and there were 33 million people infected with AIDS in 2007 (Worldwide HIV & AIDS Statistics, 2008). This statistic is really alarming, and the percentage of AIDS infection continues to increase more rapidly if people have no interest in AIDS. Therefore, understanding what causes AIDS, how to treat it, and how to control the spread of this disease is really necessary.

In 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered the cause of AIDS is HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Study shows that HIV originated in chimpanzees – animals like a large monkey without tail – in West Africa; it transmitted to humans through their infected blood when they hunted these animals for food (HIV/AIDS – Basic Information, 2008). After attacking the human body, HIV destroys CD4+ T cells, “a kind of white blood cell or leukocyte that play an important role in establishing and maximizing the capabilities of the immune system” (T helper cell, n.d.), and weakens the immune system. When CD4+ T count reduces into low level, HIV infection becomes AIDS; at this stage, the human body is not able to fight disease; and diseased individuals linger to death. After close to 30 years from its first identification in the early 1980s, AIDS treatment as well as vaccine has not been found, and AIDS has developed into a dangerous epidemic disease.

HIV exists in blood, seminal or vaginal fluid, amniotic fluid, etc of infected people, causes AIDS; and it is spread through 3 main ways. The first type of AIDS transmission is having sex with someone living with the HIV virus. In this type, HIV is transmitted among partners through unprotected sexual intercourse such as anal, vaginal, and oral sex. According to CDC’s statistics in 2005, people being infected with HIV through heterosexual contact account for 80 percent of newly diagnosed infections (HIV/AIDS among Women, 2008); this rate is too high when compared with other infectious types and reminds people of sexual safety. The second type of transmission is using the same needles or syringes with an HIV patient when injecting drugs, steroids, etc. This way, HIV breaks into the blood directly and develops swiftly in the host. Likewise, being contaminated with the blood of someone who suffering AIDS also makes people infected with this dangerous virus. Lastly, mothers can transmit HIV to their infants directly or to their babies through breast feeding. AIDS killed more than 330 million children in 2007; most of them died because of mother-to-child HIV infection (AIDS, n.d.). Spreading quickly and easily by means of unsafely sexual contact, blood-borne pathogen and mother-to-child infection, HIV has become global epidemic disease; thus, finding a remedy for AIDS is very urgent.

Up to now, scientists have not found real effective cures for the AIDS disease; however, there are some methods being tested and under trial. The most typical AIDS treatment is using antiretroviral drugs – a class of drugs which inhibit the ability of HIV to attack the immune system. However, the effectiveness of these drugs has only a transient treatment because HIV gradually mutates and becomes resistant to the drugs they encounter. Therefore, a new treatment, various combinations of antiretroviral drugs, is recommended. This method which “consists of highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART” (AIDS, n.d.) constrains HIV to mutate and reduces resistance of HIV to the drugs, and is more effective than the old one. Nevertheless, patients who are undergoing therapy with this new method of AIDS treatment must obey a highly disciplined schedule in taking drugs. Otherwise, it causes many unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, fatigue and malaise (AIDS, n.d.). The current AIDS therapies are not really successful; they just help to delay the development of the disease, and prolong the life of HIV patients. For this reason, scientists are trying their best to research more effective methods to treat the AIDS disease. In 1996, “researchers found that some white people have genes that may protect them from HIV, regardless of how many times they are exposed to the virus” (Wexler, 2008, p.87). Although there are no therapies for AIDS, such a discovery will speed up the development of methods to prevent or treat HIV infections more effectively.

AIDS has spread over the world, and the numbers of people infected with HIV has grown continuously; however, the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be controlled by means of testing, education and AIDS prevention programs. AIDS is really dangerous because most patients don’t realize they are living with HIV, and transmitting this virus to others. The only way to know whether HIV enters the body is through testing. Nowadays, the methods of HIV antibodies tests are very various such rapid testing, home testing or by other activities: testing people who join military, testing pregnant women and newborns or through health-care workers, etc. Although whether the testing is mandatory cause much controversy, through this way, more and more people are conscious of their HIV status, and decrease the transmission of the AIDS disease. Another kind of limiting globalization of AIDS is to improve education about AIDS, especially to the youth. Most teenagers are infected with HIV through sexual relation and intravenous drugs; they lack of knowledge about HIV transmission as well as condom usage, contraception, etc. In 2005, there are more than 84 hundred people in the age of twenty and twenty nine who have tested positive with HIV antibodies (Basic Statistics, 2009). For this reason, education of HIV/AIDS prevention such as using condom, having safety of sexual relation, injecting drugs, preventing pregnancy, etc needs to be popularized in school and family. Finally, AIDS prevention programs should be organized ubiquitously around the world especially in Africa and developing countries such as China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam where the rate of people living with HIV is very high. While AIDS has not had the therapies, increasing awareness of AIDS, knowing HIV status through testing and developing AIDS prevention programs have made a significant contribution to control the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Nowadays, the HIV infection level has increased very quickly; the AIDS epidemic has been threatening human life. For this reason, improving the knowledge about the reason of AIDS transmission, the methods of treating it and the way to control its spread deserve to take a great interest of people.

Reference

AIDS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2009, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aids
Basic Statistics. (2009, February 26). Retrieved June 2009, from CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#hivaidsage
B. Wexler. AIDS/HIV, (pp. 15-26). Definition, Symptoms, And Transmittal. (2008). Information Plus Reference Series Detroit: Gale Retrieved June 20, 2009, from Gale Virtual Reference Library via Gale: http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=GVRL&u=lincclin_spjc
B. Wexler. AIDS/HIV, (pp. 73-90). HIV/AIDS Costs And Treatment. (2008). Information Plus Reference Series Detroit: Gale Retrieved June 23, 2009, from Gale Virtual Reference Library via Gale: http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=GVRL&u=lincclin_spjc
HIV/AIDS – Basic Information. (2008, September 3). Retrieved June 16, 2009, from CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic/index.htm
HIV/AIDS among Women. (2008, August 3). Retrieved June 15, 2009, from CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/women/resources/factsheets/women.htm
T helper cell. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2008, from Wikipedia – The free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T_helper_cell
Worldwide HIV & AIDS Statistics. (2008). Retrieved June 17, 2009, from Averting HIV and AIDS: http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm

Seniors Living With HIV / AIDS

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Whatever happened to dying of old age, natural causes, or of a more common disease known to mankind? There is another crisis amidst the world today and it involves our senior citizens. HUH? How can this happen, why, when, where? These are all the questions that many ask, when they encounter someone who is over 50+ living with AIDS. There are so many reasons why older people are infected with this soul stripping, immunity weakening disease.

In general, the new numbers of citizens living with AIDS contribute to the wonderful advances medicine has made in prolonging the life of someone with Aids. There are people that were diagnosed over twenty years ago with the disease, but are still living. Longer life expectancy is the biggest contributing factor to our numerical equation of seniors living with Aids.

On the other hand, senior women give up using any form of protection because they have been through menopause. There is no chance to get pregnant now, so to many; the use of a condom is irrelevant. Other women feel awkward using a condom, so they never bother. If older men contract the disease it can be considered that they are participating in a gay lifestyle, that they are not protecting themselves while having sex, or a drug addict. Both sexes feel that using protection is unnecessary because they are ‘wiser’ and much older and out of harms way in regards to the disease. It is the ‘Young folk’ that are out here making the world nasty and unsafe is what some seniors think in regards to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

This is where another problem arises. Most seniors feel lonely. Their family members don’t come around that often and the loss of company and social involvement overcomes them. The need to be around someone or to have a companion becomes a constant need in their life. Most people prey on the elderly for their benefits, which could be their homes, cars or cash. Now there are predators that prey on the elderly for sex. There is an outbreak of sex crimes being committed against the elderly. Whether it is forced or casual by acquaintance, the scar is one that can never heal because it has been infected with HIV. Many seniors applaud the first sign of a stranger wanting to spend time with them, for whatever reason. From there a relationship can sprout and the unthinkable happens.

Seniors must be educated and updated on all the current events in the health field. The the task of identifying HIV in seniors is very hard to do because the many signs of aging (cold, cough, tiredness, dementia, weight loss, and swollen lymph glands) mimic the signs and symptoms of HIV. This is where the importance of informing the physician of their sexual activity (whether they feel the doctor wants to hear it or not) when making their routine doctor visits.

Family can help as well, by looking in on their loved ones more often and making every attempt to check in on their physical health as well. Make sure you take them to all doctor visits and make sure you make a list of health complaints in preparation for their Doctor visit. Sometimes, if the ailment is not causing any physical discomfort; they will forget to mention that nagging side pain, or sudden mental status change. It’s like going backwards in time where you would have to teach them like teenagers, or maybe even children ( depending on mental status) by checking who has been hanging around them and making sure their behavior is not deemed ‘RISKY.’

Living with HIV

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

A life in the day of an HIV infected individual cannot be easy, though not many people realize what it is like to be related, and be the support chain for that individual. Raising two small children, having a husband in the military and tending to the day to day lives in the household is a harsh reality. Yet when one is faced with a life changing illness, it throws your life into a spin which you can sometimes feel like you will never escape.

We found out shortly after this close relative moved in that he was HIV positive. It was a shock to behold, for we have two young boys in the household who do not understand things like that. Death is something we rarely spoke about, and now we were faced with the dilemma of explaining that certain things couldn’t be done. How do you explain to a three year old that he cannot use a toothbrush? You can’t, therefore you must take certain precautions to keep from another tragedy forming.

We explain that certain germs, and illnesses such as the cold can be transferred through body fluids, so the boys now have a slight grasp on the reality of the nature, but they do not know the extent of the illness out wonderful relative has. One way we have come to look at this, is that every day is a blessing, not a curse waiting for the inevitable. One does not wake up in life and say I think I am HIV positive. It is a terrifying ordeal to take on.

We have gotten used to putting things away so that the children cannot access them. As well we make an adventure out of every day, every action. Though it is not easy. Each illness such as a common cold, or even a cough must be guarded and watched very closely to be certain that it is not something growing further. There are good days, and then there are bad days. Though even through the bad days we find a way to surge onward and be thankful for having one another even for the time we do.

Perhaps it is because I lost my sister to cancer that I realize that death does not discriminate in any way, shape, or form. Though also, one must keep in mind. HIV is no longer a death sentence.. It is a life sentence, a reason to live life the way you wish, to take not one breath for granted, because we travel through this life unknowing what could happen the very next minute. Each breath we take is a gamble that our lungs will continue to expand and accept the oxygen we breath in.

What I wish you to know, is that people who have been diagnosed with these illnesses, a plague of sorts, are still people. They still need love, emotion, and support. Some have made choices leading to the diagnosis. Others, attained the virus or illness through other means. People should not be treated as an illness, if you know someone who is ill, someone who is hurting, or even looks down. Offer them a smile, a handshake, or even a hug. Just let them know that someone cares for them.

Just being there for a person can sometimes be the best and greatest blessing you can provide.

HIV/AIDS and Teens: Are You or a Loved One at Risk?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

One of the best series of information that I have found has been made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They have issued a series of articles titled “Tips for Teens” on a number of topics having to do with problems teens often face especially with respect to peer pressure. I have written articles on pot, heroin, smoking and alcohol to name just a few. There are only two left in this wonderful series and this one is HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS has been mistakenly tagged a “gay thing.” It’s true that there are many gays with the condition but that doesn’t mean just because you do not participate in that lifestyle you cannot get it.

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus that weakens the body’s defense system. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Simply put it weakens the body’s ability to fight illness.

The illness is most often spread through anal, vaginal and oral sex but can also be spread mother to baby and by shared needles as with heroin.

When you are young you are constantly battling judgment. It is hard. So many decisions are made on the spur of the moment. People are most at risk for HIV/AIDS when no condom is used during any form of sex. Yet in the heat of the moment few people will stop.

This brings about the danger of the use of pot and alcohol. While each brings on its own type of dangers, the greatest danger is losing your ability to use good judgment and have sex with no condom or shoot up drugs with a shared needle.

While abstinence is the best defense, the next best thing is to have sex with the same partner along with a latex condom.

It may seem like every person is having unprotected sex but they are not. As more and more people become aware of the circumstances surrounding HIV/AIDS, they will be and are being more careful.

When you are around people especially those who would try to have sex with you watch for weight loss, sweatiness, lack of energy, swollen lymph glands, short-term memory loss as well as severe herpes infections. These are key signs but not all the signs and they are good signs for parents to watch for as well.

A couple of additional facts include you cannot get the illness from casual fluid like sweat. Further, just because you find you may have the illness that doesn’t mean there is no hope so don’t just go out and live that lifestyle. That is the most important time to seek help.

Sometimes a person is gay and doesn’t seek help because of the fear of parental retribution or societal rejection. Neither of those issues is worth dying for.

No illness requires understanding and support like HIV/AIDS. It literally can be the difference in life and death.

References:
“Tips For Teens: HIV/AIDS,” Fact Sheet, 2008, SAMHSA
SAMHSA’S Health Information Network, 1-877-726-4727

HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Why a Paper on Discrimination?

An Epidemic of Stigma

Ten years ago, in 1988, Gregory Herek and Eric Glunt described the public reaction to AIDS in the United States as an epidemic of stigma. This figure of speech has turned out to be more appropriate than one would wish, for in many ways the stigma of HIV/AIDS has had an even wider reach and a greater effect than the virus itself. The stigma of HIV/AIDS affects the lives not only of people with HIV/AIDS, but also of their lovers, families, and caregivers. It involves not only those who are the objects of stigma, but also those who stigmatize them, whether by their attitudes or their actions, in the community, on the job, in professional capacities, in public office or in the media. It adds new prejudices to old, and transfers the accumulated effects of these prejudices from one group of people to another. In fact, it leaves no one untouched, affecting both those who readily associate with the stigmatized and those who would prefer not to associate with them.

This epidemic of stigma has consequences. It can result in attitudes and actions that may prevent those who are living with HIV/AIDS from seeking or obtaining the health care and social support they require. Adults with HIV/AIDS have lost their jobs or been denied employment, insurance, housing, and other services. Children with HIV/AIDS have been denied day care. Because of their beliefs and values, people have been disposed not to provide information about preventing the transmission of HIV, and have supported laws and policies that render the stigmatized more vulnerable to HIV infection.

Precisely because protecting people from discrimination – both discrimination based on HIV status and discrimination based on other characteristics, such as sexual orientation – was seen to be integral to preventing the spread of HIV and providing appropriate care and support to people with HIV, many countries, including Canada, committed themselves to protecting the human rights of people with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

For people with HIV/AIDS, some of the more painful or burdensome aspects of the way they are treated have to do either with treatment that is either not actionable under law (such as HIV-related stigma) or with treatment that is legal (such as denial of disability insurance). While it may be difficult or impossible to seek legal redress for these forms of discrimination, it is important to acknowledge their impact and to pursue other ways of preventing them or compensating for them.

HIV/AIDS – Read Today, So You Can Live Tomorrow

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

HIV/AIDS – The origin of the disease

AIDS was first reported in 1983 in Los Angeles, California. Later, research on plasma samples taken in hospitals across Africa showed that the earliest known evidence of the disease dated back to 1959 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two species of HIV virus were identified: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The HIV-1 species is found worldwide. HIV-2 is mostly confined to West Africa. Scientists believe that the HIV virus may have been transferred from monkeys to humans during hunting, cutting and eating of monkey meat. 63% of the world’s cases come from Sub-Saharan Africa

HIV

HIV stands for ‘human immunodeficiency virus’. HIV is a retrovirus that infects cells of the human immune system and destroys or impairs their function resulting in the progressive depletion of the immune system, leading to ‘immune deficiency’.

The immune system is considered deficient when it can no longer fulfill its role of fighting off infection and diseases. Immunodeficient people are much more vulnerable to a wide range of infections due to their weakened immune system.

AIDS

AIDS stands for ‘Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome’ and describes the accumulation of symptoms and infections associated with acquired deficiency of the immune system. Infection with the HIV virus has been established as the underlying cause of AIDS. The level of HIV in the body and the appearance of certain infections are used as indicators that HIV infection has progressed to AIDS

HIV/AIDS – In the World

Number of people living with HIV is 40 million and number of people dying annually from AIDS is 3.0 million. Countries with highest number of HIV cases today:

Ø South Africa
Ø Nigeria
Ø India
Ø South East Asia

This virus is a microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism. Viruses can only replicate themselves by infecting a host cell.

HIV is a retrovirus. The virus is able to mutate frequently thus making it very difficult to find a cure for HIV.

HIV/AIDS – Being HIV positive

There are no visible symptoms that a person has become infected by the HIV virus…no pain, no skin rash or blister, no discharge. Being HIV positive means that you have been in contact with the HIV virus. It does not mean that you have AIDS…yet! But over a few months or years you will develop AIDS. It takes 8 to 12 weeks from the initial contamination to the time that the virus is detectable by a blood test. It takes years before an HIV positive person develops the disease called AIDS. HIV can be found in body fluids such as:

Ø Blood
Ø Semen
Ø Vaginal Fluids
Ø Breast Milk

HIV is transmitted through:

Ø Penetrative (anal or vaginal) sex
Ø Blood transfusions
Ø The use of non sterile needles in health facilities or the sharing of contaminated needles by drug users
Ø Between mother and infant, during pregnancy via the placenta, childbirth and breastfeeding

HIV/AIDS – Can HIV be treated?

There is currently no vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS. The only known methods of prevention are based on avoiding exposure to the virus or, failing that, an antiretroviral treatment directly after a highly significant exposure, called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).PEP has a very demanding four week schedule of dosage. Current treatment for HIV infection consists of highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART. This has been highly beneficial to many HIV-infected individuals since its introduction in 1996. HAART allows the stabilization of the patient’s symptoms, but it neither cures the patient of HIV, nor alleviates the symptoms. Despite this, many HIV-infected individuals have experienced remarkable improvements in their general health and quality of life, which has led to the plummeting of HIV-associated mortality.

HIV/AIDS – Living with HIV/AIDS

Lead a healthy lifestyle. Balance exercise and adequate rest, eat well, and avoid using alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs. Live normally. A person with HIV can work and is not infectious in normal work activities. Avoid infecting others. Always use a condom when having sexual contact and do not donate blood. Even during the silent, symptom free period of HIV infection, the virus is multiplying and can be transmitted. Take all anti-HIV medications as prescribed and regularly for life. The primary cause of treatment failure is that people do not take their medications correctly. Some medications must be taken on an empty stomach, some with a meal, some at very precise times of the day. Each dose that is missed or not taken correctly enables the virus to reproduce and further weaken the immune system.

HIV/AIDS – Conclusion

The conclusion in this article is AIDS is a fatal disease for which there is no treatment and the transmission is mainly by blood and sex. Prevention is based on a few simple measures:

Ø Abstinence, fidelity to one partner or safe sex (condoms)
Ø Using only disposable needles and syringes

The important thins is there is no risk of transmission for normal working activities. Always alert, think and protect your self.

HIV Transmission : Mother to Fetus Risk

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

For women who are pregnant and HIV positive, fetal development and health is a primary concern. The fetus, while growing in utero, is completely safe from HIV infection, but that does not mean the infant – once born – cannot contract HIV. Blood and vaginal fluids are the transportation fluid of the HIV virus and infants come into direct contact with these fluids during labor and delivery.

STD Testing Leads to Lower Fetal Transmission Risk

There are cultures that test for HIV during prenatal care and those who do not. Moreover, there are societies where structured prenatal care is near non-existent. The first step in preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to fetus is knowing HIV status. Mothers who are tested during pregnancy can benefit from the same HIV medications as those who knew of their HIV status before becoming pregnant.

STD or HIV testing can take place as late as the first stages of labor. According to the BMC Pregnancy and Birth Journal, pregnant women can choose to have an HIV test during labor and still receive the medication they need to help fend off HIV transmission to the fetus.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services states that HIV medications are prescribed to pregnant women in two different methods. If a pregnant women needs to be treated to improve her own health during pregnancy, or maintain current medications to assure continued good health, medications can be given from the first days of pregnancy. If the mother is in good health, medications to protect the unborn fetus from HIV transmission can be postponed until after the first trimester when the risk of side effects is lower.

HIV Medications, CD 4 Count, and Viral Load

CD4 count and viral load are not typically taken into account when starting HIV medications to prevent transmission to an unborn fetus. It is important that the mother receive medical care and maintain good health throughout the pregnancy in order to support healthy fetal growth.

As the pregnancy progresses, CD 4 or T-Cell count may be taken to ensure HIV medications are working to suppress the virus. If T-Cell counts lower dramatically during pregnancy, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may be prescribed. HAART therapy commonly involves taking at least three HIV medications to substantially reduce the presence of the HIV virus in blood and help CD4 or T-Cell Counts rebound.

It is never too late to protect a fetus from HIV transmission. Transmission most often occurs during labor when blood and vaginal fluids are exposed to the fetus. If the virus is suppressed before birth, transmission risk is far lower.

“Health Information for HIV Positive Pregnant Women.” Aids.Info. National Institutes of Health. Web. 8 July 2010.

Kongnyuy, Eugene J., Enow R. Mbu, Francios X. Mbopi-Keou, Nelson Fomulu, Phillip N. Nana, Pierre M. Tebeu, Rebecca N. Tonye, and Robert JL Leke. “Acceptability of Intrapartum HIV Counselling and Testing in Cameroon.” BioMed Central | The Open Access Publisher. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 27 Feb. 2009. Web. 01 July 2010.

HIV / AIDS and Heart Disease

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

In the past, it was thought that if an individual had contracted HIV that their lifespan would be an average of 8 to 10 years and then they would eventually die of AIDS. However, with a growing armentarium of HIV medications called HAART (highly active antiretrovirals therapies), many of these patients are living more than 10 years and perhaps even 15-20 years minimum. In many ways, if patients are closely followed by an HIV specialist in a teritary center, these patients will be able to live with HIV/AIDS for a long time and their disease will now be more of a chronic disease.

The success of treating HIV/AIDS has led to a new set of problems that the cardiologist have grown to see, which are more likely to lead to death in these patients. Patients with HIV/AIDS are more and more likely to die of coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart failure than HIV/AIDS. There are many reasons for the latter problems, but it is thought to be a combination of factors that have led to this new disease phenomona in HIV/AIDS patients.

HIV/AIDS in itself has an inflammatory effect on the coronary arteries, which has been shown to increase the likelyhood of plaque buildup and endothelial dysfunction, which basically means that the disease effects the arteries of the heart and the rest of the body to a level in which they are no longer healthy. HIV/AIDS is also known to increase the risk for cardiomyopathy (heart failure); it is unclear of the mechanism for this problem, but it could be due to prior heart attacks or idiopathic (unknown) reasons.

HIV/AIDS patients who are on HAART medications, especially the protease inhibitors, are known to have very elevated cholesterol levels, which will increase their risk for heart attacks and coronary artery disease. These patients need to be aggressively treated with cholesterol medications such as statins. In fact, I would argue that most patients with HIV/AIDS should be on statin therapy, although, the current recommendations do not recommend this because the research is still lacking on this issue.

HIV/AIDS patients also tend to have other comorbidities, which increase their risk for coronary artery disease and heart failure, which include hypertension, diabetes, and as already mentioned dyslipidemia. These patients may also smoke cigarettes, which would increase their risk for worsening heart disease as in all individuals who smoke cigarettes. If they smoke marijuana or abuse drugs such as cocaine, this would also increase their risk for heart disease (see prior articles on these topics).

In conclusion, patients with HIV/AIDS have done quite well in regards to surviving this deadly disease because of significant advances in the HAART medications and the research in this field, which have made this disease into a chronic disease. However, many of these patients unfortunately may now succumb from heart disease and heart failure. I believe all of these patients should be referred to a cardiologist or internist who specializes in cardiac care. They should be aggressively treated for high blood pressure, elevated ch9olesterol and should be counseled on appropriate low fat and sugar diets as well as tobacco and drug cessation.

HIV/AIDS: What is the Riskiest Sexual Behavior?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Our immune system is a brilliant machine, designed to run off enemy invaders. Imagine billions of white blood cells patrolling inside of our body, ready to jump on intruders like a person with a black belt in karate. These white blood cells are so efficient that they usually kill bacteria and viruses before they make you sick. The very fact that you are alive means that your immune system is very good at doing its job.

When the immune system finds isolated cancer cells in your body, they initiate an attack that our military would be proud of. The war is on zapping those cancer cells before they can turn into tumors.

Now, close your eyes and picture the virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is a tricky virus because its mission is to attack the immune system itself. The AIDS virus attacks the T-cells, and then uses the material to reproduce itself, so that it can slyly destroy. Towards the end of the AIDS virus journey there are no helper T-cells, the cells which “help” the immune system do its job. The T-cell in effect are the cells which sound the alarm, and blow the trumpets, so to speak to let the rest of the army know it is time to come to the defense.

AIDS came on the scene in 1981 where it was recognized as a disease by the Center of Disease Control. This is when the CDC started monitoring the progress of this terrifying disease. No matter where you live or what your lifestyle may be it is prudent to educate yourself about AIDS.

C.Everett Koop, M.D., former surgeon general of the United States said “We are not able to control AIDS. I want to make this point with as much emphasis as possible because, unfortunately, there are still people in this country, including some physicians, who insist that AIDS is a false scare or a problem limited to homosexuals and I.V. drug abusers. That attitude is dangerous.”

In 1981 AIDS was found in a small group of homosexual men in the large coastal towns of the United States. At first it appeared to be the “homosexual” disease, so people would dismiss it as not being related to monogamy. However, the disease began to spread quickly through the population, and it began to affect at every socio-economic and lifestyle level.

The best way to stay safe from AIDS is to be celibate, or married to a partner that has been celibate, and who will remain faithful. Unfortunately, as many broken hearts can attest, this is not always the case. By the time our heart has been broken, and we have lost trust in our partner, the damage has been done. Or maybe the partner lied about his or her involvement with past lovers.

So in a sense, unless we remain celibate (and drug free) we are all at a certain level of risk, some lifestyles being riskier than others of course. It is possible to get AIDS from one unprotected sexual encounter with an infected person, though the risk is comparatively low. When it comes to AIDS, trust may not be the best virtue to rely on.

Generally, religion and a commitment to be faithful is enough, but too many times claims of “righteousness” and religion have failed to protect loved ones because the claim reached no further than the lips. Truthful monogamy can protect you from AIDS, depending on who our partners have been with for the past several years. This is true both for heterosexual or homosexual partners.

Anal intercourse, with or without a condom, is thought to be especially dangerous and this is why:

The rectum is part of the gastrointestinal system, and is designed for absorption of food molecules and water. The rectal lining is only one cell thick, and below that delicate lining are blood vessels and target cells. Elastic fibers are absent. The PH of the rectum is high.

At first it was assumed that a break in the lining was why the virus was transmitted rectally. The truth, it turned out, is that the rectum is specifically designed to attract microbes, so it has a sticky surface (called M cells). The purpose of the M cell is to fold over a virus or bacteria, engulf it, and bring it inside in a pocket. Why? So that immune cells can process the microbe and determine the appropriate response. Should they ignore it or attack it?

So when HIV comes along rectally, the M cells deliver nicely to a lymphocyte and the deed is done within ten minutes. Tricked, signed, sealed, and delivered.

The vagina has no M cells, the PH is low which inactivates the HIV virus, its mucous has anti-HIV proteins, and its lining is twenty to forty-five cells thick. Under the lining is a layer in which target cells are found; this area is rich in elastic fibers. Next is a layer of muscle, then more elastic fibers.

Of course, we know that vaginal transmission is possible but is far less riskier than its anal counterpart. Research has shown that HIV is unable to reach target cells in the human vagina under normal circumstances. However, if there is any infection, STD, tears, or lowered immunity, the vaginal transmission risk goes up.

So, we see from the above scenario that anyone who practices anal sex, and anyone whose sexual style is promiscuous in nature, is at a much higher risk than the rest of society.

When seeking a partner it is healthy both physically and emotionally to take time getting to know each other before engaging in sexual activity. When we take our time, we can use our senses to more fully determine who we are getting involved with. Trust is built over time. If we become a stable and trustworthy person we will be provided more opportunity to attract like kind to us.

This disease has profound affect on children, families, and communities. When we put effort and thought into our relationships, our time is well spent in the protection of our future and the future of our loved ones.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic/index.htm
Michaud and Feinstein, “Fighting Disease”
Anonymous M.D. “Unprotected”

Getting Tested for HIV/AIDS: My Personal Experience in the Hot Seat

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

You might be wondering, what induced this 25 year old to get tested for H.I.V.? In todays news there is usually something to be said of HIV/AIDS or other STD’s. As a young man, you seldom worry about infection while trying to have intercourse, there are lots of guys who would have intercourse with as many as possible and have their partners predetermined and lined up. I was not so concerned with intercourse as a “project” or a race, I was concerned with finding love. In my search for finding Love with one special person, I came across several guys claiming to be interested in the same or similar things as me. You will always find someone who is willing to sell themselves as what your looking for, but it is very rare that you find someone that indeed has the qualities you look for naturally. In any case, my search landed me with several partners with whom I have had intercourse with. This biggest mistake is to have intercourse with anyone you are not 100% sure is not infected with anything. With this being the point, even with testing you can not be 100% certain the subject does not have what your testing for, you can only say with certainty that the subject did not test positive at the time of testing with whatever the test is designed to look for.

While I was in a relationship with a guy who I thought was decent and had potential, it became obvious this guy was all wrong from the start. When you meet someone who seems all too perfect, and their closest friends warn you constantly of possible danger, LISTEN TO THE FACTS. I didn’t listen, I am 25 years old and not getting any younger, the chances of me moving to a better location are about as slim as being hit by an airplane playing baseball in Cuba! When you take yourself out of your world and put yourself in the shoes of someone else, you can begin to understand why people make the mistakes they do. I come from a home of only one parent, for some god awful reason my parents split up and I lived and only knew my Mother, who was in the military. When you consider this, I want you to know it was never easy relocating, going to 5 different middle schools, 8 different high schools and uncountable friends. So you see, in my lifetime, I only want to settle down and have a partner that will be with me for life. When you at life through this mentality, you can only run into mistakes, which is just what I got. The guy I mentioned, whose friends were warning me, didn’t have HIV/AIDS, but his last partner tested positive for it. I found this out while riding in the car with my ex at nearly 95 miles per hour as he tried to get to his ex for questioning. It was then that I had to make a tough decision, Leave him or if I wanted a relationship with him for life, embrace the fact he may have HIV and life with it. My decision, I wanted a long term relationship with someone I could love and would love me back, so I told him I would be there for him no matter what. He got tested and was negative for HIV at the time, however he did test positive for an STD. I only say this, I will never have unprotected sex again, and hopefully the lord has blessed me to not have HIV/AIDS.

I went to the doctors today to test my body for HIV/AIDS and other STD’s because I was not careful enough in my private life to protect myself. I am a fool for not caring enough about my body, and for letting myself go at such a cheap price, when in reality it might cost my life.

Thank you for reading my post, and hopefully you will take my advise:
1> never trust someone with your life that you aren’t sure will take care of it
2>always save yourself, the only person that has been with you through it all has been you, so take care of yourself first.
3>There are lots of things in this world that can make or break you, most of everything is setup to go against you in some fashion, always make things work for you.
4>Life was given to you, don’t let anything you can prevent take your life away.