Term Paper: HIV / AIDS Virus Has Claimed

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HIV / AIDS virus has claimed more lives in the past two decades than many other leading causes of death. To date more than 40 million people around the globe are affected by HIV / AIDS with sub-Saharan Africa being the hardest hit region. Ninety five percent of AIDS cases are reported from developing countries like Africa, India and China.

The disease that was discovered in 1981 posed a major threat to human population when within first five years of its discovery, AIDS had attacked 1 million Americans and though things changed dramatically in 1996 when new drugs allowed people with HIV to live longer, the disease has entered epidemic stages all around the world.

More men than women are affected by the disease though it must be said that the proportion of women is rising steadily. In fact according to CDC, if the disease continues to infect women at the present rate, women might soon outnumber men. The disease affects women in almost the same manner as men and is considered the biggest killer after cancer and heart problems. According to CDC:

Women of color (especially African-American women) are the hardest hit.

Younger women are more likely than older women to get HIV.

AIDS is a common killer, second only to cancer and heart disease for women."

With AIDS virus affecting millions of people around the world and with almost one million men and women in United States alone, it is only obvious that this disease is now influencing every aspect of our lives. A report released by the UN AIDS agency and the World Health Organization highlights the rapid spread of the disease in these mostly impoverished regions of the world. "The disease continues to ravage sub-Saharan Africa, and is exacerbating the famine in the south of the continent. And the report added another bleak statistic -- for the first time in the 20 years of the epidemic, there are now more women than men infected with HIV. The report also confirms that Eastern Europe and Central Asia have the world's fastest-growing epidemic." (Knox)

The first AID case in the United States was reported in 1981, from then onwards there has been a significant rise in the AID cases, before 2005 it was reported that more than a million were infected with HIV, and more than 415,000 people reported positive for AIDS in the country. According to reports more than 500,000 Americans have been killed by the infectious disease, which is incurable. According to the reports the prevalence of the HIV among the adult population of United States is more than 0.6%. The virus has affected every social segment of the American population, although there have been reports that 'certain social groups within the country's diverse population are more severely affected than others' (Clymer, 2002). According to different sources, the number of people infected by this virus is between 900,000 and 1.2 million according to UNAIDS the total number of citizens infected with the virus is 950,000. There have been reports that the local population of the States is still partially ignorant about the HIV, according to the survey more than 30% of the infected population are ignorant and unaware about their infection, therefore the health care organizations have warned that the ignorance among the local population about their own diagnosis is expected to infect more people as a result.

According to different sources, at the present more than 40,000 people are infected by this virus on annual basis, although the addition is comparatively lower than what it was before, during 1980s more than 150,000 people were infected with the virus on annual basis. It has been observed that male population of the United States is more vulnerable to the HIV-AIDS, 'of these 40,000 annual infections, about 70% are amongst males and about 30% females'. According to different surveys, more than 15,000 people, who were diagnosed with the infection died in 2004. According to analysts different social disorder and disparity is the main caused behind the rise of the HIV-AID cases. Initially it was believed that HIV-AID 'predominantly affected gay men', however the epidemiological patterns has varied in a gradual manner. Although the cases of AIDS are widely common among gays, but in 2004, the cases of AIDS were dominant among heterosexuals, 'heterosexual transmission accounted for 35% of all newly diagnosed AIDS cases, which was 3% more than the figures claimed in 1985'. Although homosexuals in particular gays are more vulnerable to AIDS, but in 2004 the gays 'accounted for more than half of new diagnoses' (Clymer, 2002), it was observed that youth involved in gay sex and particularly those from racial minorities are more vulnerable to HIV-AID, it was because 'their age means that they didn't see friends die in the early years of the epidemic, younger gay men are becoming increasingly complacent about practicing safer sex, and they remain at considerably higher risk of encountering a sexual partner who is HIV+ than members of any other group in America' (Pedro, 2003). The HIV-AID is also caused due to the usage of the infected injection equipment, therefore the victims of such mishaps i.e. those who use the infected injecting equipments are also vulnerable to AIDS, 'disproportionately affected by HIV in the U.S.A.'. According to the reports, more than 35% of the women and 20% of the females were diagnosed of AIDS because of their use of infected injecting materials.

According to reports, AIDS has been responsible for serious implications towards the racial and ethnic minorities. The demographic pattern of the epidemic has varied considerably in the recent years, 'and African-Americans in particular are now very disproportionately affected' (Henry, 2004). The racial minority accounted for more than 75% of the new AID cases, in 2004, the African-Americans accounted for the 12% of the American population, surprisingly such African-Americans accounted for more than 40% of the reported AIDS cases, the African-American women are more vulnerable to the disease, 'more than 65% of the American women diagnosed with AIDS in 2004 were black'. Although it is not the racial affiliation which is responsible for making an indivdual susceptible to HIV infection, instead there arte certain other social issues which have been responsible for the imbalance. Poverty is considered to be the major reason behind the rising vulnerability of the African-American in particular towards AIDS; different surveys have observed 'an association between higher AIDS incidence and lower income' (Henry, 2004). More than 25% of the population of the African-American lives below the poverty line, their living standard is considered to be extremely worst, and this condition is regarded as responsible for the rising vulnerability of the African-American towards HIV-AIDS infection. There have been reports of sexual exploitation among the African-American population who are already victimized by discrimination, illiteracy, and addiction. It has been observed that the practice of being on the down low is responsible for the unprecedented increase in the numbers of AIDS cases among the African-Americans. The sex between common genders is attributed with the rise of AIDS cases, and because such relationships are never revealed and the wines and girl friends are kept in dark about the existence of such relationships therefore, such wives and girl friends are the innocent victim of the tragedy.

According to the survey conducted in 2004, the White non-Hispanic accounted for the 50% of the total population of United States, and more than 28% of the AIDS victims were White Hispanic. The African-American accounted for the 13% of the total population of United States, and more than 49% of the AIDS victims were African-American. The Latin accounted for the 14% of the total population of United States, and more than 20% United States population diagnosed with AIDS were of the Latin origin. The Asians accounted for the 3% of the total population of United States, and more than 1% of United States population diagnosed with AIDS was of the Asians and Pacific origin. The American natives and Alaskan accounted for the 1% of the total population of United States, and more than 1% of the United States population diagnosed with AIDS was of the American natives and Alaskan region.

A research conducted at U.C. Berkeley concluded that heterosexuals accounted for the increased risk of vulnerability of AIDS among the women, in 2004 more than 70% of the women were vulnerable to such diagnosis, the major risk associated with the rising number of the diagnosis of the AIDS among the females is based on the 'risky behavior of their male partners' (Kaiser, 2004). According to the research, 'women were twice more likely to be infected by a husband or steady boyfriend than by a casual sex partner' (Kaiser, 2004).

HIV-AIDS has emerged a greater threat for the world. It must be understood that despite numerous efforts, no real breakthrough has been achieved in the poverty ridden regions of the world where cases of HIV are the highest such as Sub-Sahara. There are some political reasons for the lack of progress in Africa. Many feel… [END OF PREVIEW]

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