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Aids and the road to a cure

Jonathan Revilla

General Biology

AIDS and the road to a cure

AIDS is a pandemic that is sweeping the world and there has yet to be a cure. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 25 million people have died from AIDS since it was first discovered in 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Aquired immune deficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS, is a silent killer. AIDS is caused by the infection known as human immunodefciency virus. It is a microscopic organism. HIV attacks and disables the body’s immune system. The immune system is the system that usually fights off illnesses. “When the immune system breaks down, a person with AIDS will develop life-threatening illnesses.” (Flynn & Lound, 6) The invasion of the AIDS virus in an individual’s body leaves the body open to an invasion by many other different infections, called “opportunistic diseases.” These infections are the main causes of death of AIDS patients. Because there isn’t a cure for AIDS, once the disease invades the body there is no way to get rid of it.

The Beginning

AIDS is a life-threatening disease and those infected are often treated as invaders although they are the ones who were invaded. Although AIDS first appeared in the United States in the early 1980’s, HIV “first gained a foothold in humans some fifty or more years ago in Africa.” (Joseph, M. D., 14) At that time many hunters and their families killed and ate monkeys that carried the then undiagnosed and unnamed virus. Stephen C. Joseph, M. D. said that in the 1970’s, when he practiced medicine in Central Africa, he saw “patients with wasting syndromes, atypical progressive infections, bizarre malignancies-all undiagnosed due to lack of laboratory facilities or lack of specific knowledge.” Joseph went on to say that “most of the mortally ill children I was caring for had a combination of severe malnutrition and one or more infectious diseases....