HIV and Holistic Medicine: The Symptoms Thesis

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In the beginning of the HIV / AIDS epidemic there was very little and even no treatment available for individuals with the disease which still has no cure. Over the past ten years there have been a number of drugs identified by researchers that are effective in slowing the progression of the disease and as well there have been therapies for treating the opportunistic infections that attack those with this disease. The work of Holzemer, et al. (1999) state in the work entitled: "Validation of the Sign and Symptom Check-List for Persons with HIV Disease (SSC-HIV)" that the symptoms for individuals with AHIV include: (1) malaise/weakness/fatigue; (2) confusion/distress; (3) fever/chills; (4) gastrointestinal discomfort; (4) shortness of breath; and (5) nausea/vomiting. Holistic and alternative treatments offer new hope to those with HIV and it is important that these offerings are explored in the treatment of individuals with HIV. For example, those who are newly diagnosed with HIV have been shown to benefit from Vitamin C and E. which are both antioxidants since HIV infection puts stress on the body's defense system. Vitamin E is important in that individuals with HIV experience intestinal attack by parasites and this results in the intestine's ability to absorb nutrients to become limited. (Hosein, 1998)

II. Definition

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HIV disease is "a continuum of progressive damage to the immune system from the time of infection to the manifestation of severe immunologic damage by opportunistic infections, neoplasms, wasting or low GD4 lymphocyte count." (Osmond, 1998) It is stated that the time that HIV takes to "traverse this spectrum varies greatly, ranging from1-year or less in some persons to a still unknown upper limit in others that has reached nearly 20 years in a few individuals." (Osmond, 1998) The period from the time of infection to the time that AIDS develops is referred to as the incubation period. The period from the diagnosis of AIDS until the time of the death of the individual is known as AIDS survival time. (Osmond, 1998,, paraphrased)

III. History

Thesis on HIV & Holistic Medicine: The Symptoms and Assignment

The incubation period of infectious diseases are utilized to characterize the natural history of the disease beginning with infection to initial manifestations of the disease when no treatment is present. Diseases with short incubation period do not receive intervention until following disappearance of the symptoms however, since the incubation period of HIV infection is a long one there is enough time allowed for treatment of the infection before the appearance of the disease in its clinical form. Resulting are studies of the natural history of HIV infection prior to the antiretroviral therapy and prophylaxis of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) becoming standard treatment.

Observations made in the years before combination therapy began suggests "that it is likely that nearly all HIV-infected persons will eventually lose CD4 lymphocytes and progress to AIDS in the absence of effective treatment." (Osmond, 1998) In one study involving ten years of follow-up of 288 men HIV-seropositive at baseline between 1983 and 1993, only one (0.3%) maintained a CD4 lymphocyte count above 700/ul throughout follow-up and nearly all showed some worsening of other laboratory values predictive of AIDS, such as anti-p24 antibody levels, -2 microglobulin, or neopterin." (Osmond, 1998)

IV. Epidemiology

The work of Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna (2006) entitled: "Epidemiology of HIV / AIDS -- United States, 1981 -- 2005" reports that in June 1981 "the first cases of what was later called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the United States were reported in MMWR." (Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna, 2006) Since that time the HIV epidemic has expanded in the United States with approximately 1,038,000 -- 1,185,000 individuals in the United States living with HIV / AIDS and it is estimated that those unaware of their infection was approximately 24 to 27%. There has been since 1981 an overall decrease in the incidence of AIDS and survival has increased substantially since HAART or highly active retroviral therapy became the standard care for HIV / AIDS in 1996. Furthermore there is stated to be a need due to ongoing disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations for a "comprehensive national surveillance system, expanding the use of HIV-testing technologies, promoting knowledge of HIV serostatus and improving access to care and prevention interventions." (Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna, 2006)

Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna report that non-Hispanic whites were the predominant racial ethnic group with AIDS diagnosis during 1981 and 1995 however, it is reported that "over time the proportion of cases among racial and ethnic minorities increased: non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 50% and Hispanics accounted for 20%. In the period between 2001 and 2004 there were an estimated "157,468 persons" who had HIV / AIDS diagnosis in the 35 areas reporting to CDC with the annual case number reported to be "decreasing from 1, 270 in 2001 to 38,730 in 2004." (Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna, 2006)

Diagnosis of HIV / AIDS cases between 2001 and 2004 were blacks at a rate of 51% and in 2004 "...estimated HIV / AIDS case rates for blacks (76.3 per 100,000 population) and Hispanics (29.5 per 100,000) were 8.5 and 3.3 times higher, respectively." (Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna, 2006) In the period between 1981 and 2004 there were a total of 522,723 deaths among those with AIDS reported to CDC. (estimated HIV / AIDS case rates for blacks (76.3 per 100,000 population) and Hispanics (29.5 per 100,000) were 8.5 and 3.3 times higher, respectively. (Schneider, Glynn, Kajese, and McKenna, 2006)

V. Groups at risk

It is reported in the work of Loeb, Prieels, De Wit and Clumeck (1989) entitled: "Occurrence of Oral Pathology Among Different Risk Groups of HIV Infected Patients" states that risk factors of HIV infection include those as follows: (1) homosexual or bisexual; (2) African; (3) drug abusers; and (4) heterosexual who have had blood transfusion. Clinical stage and immunological status were comparable in all risk groups. (Loeb, Prieels, De Wit, Clumeck, 1989) It is reported that the risk for HIV infection has increased for specific groups including those as follows:

(1) Women, children and young people are vulnerable because of their age and sex;

(2) Injecting drug users, commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men, and prisoners are vulnerable because of they may be unable to protect themselves with safe sex or clean needles;

(3) For others, their environment or high levels of mobility leave them more susceptible to HIV infection. This mobility may be voluntary, as for migrant workers, or forced, as for victims of trafficking and refugees and internally displaced persons. Isolation from families and communities makes them more susceptible to multiple and unsafe sexual encounters. (Loeb, Prieels, De Wit and Clumeck, 1989)

VI. Risk Factors

Risk factors for HIV includes psychological risk factors including those of: (1) beliefs and perception; (2) personality characteristics; and (3) psychological states. (A Positive Life Aids Service Organizations, 2009) Those who believe that AIDS is a "relatively minor or remote problem are less likely to take steps to reduce their risks" and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. In addition, personality characteristics including such as low self-esteem and narcissm (preoccupation with the self) antisocial personality, impulsivity, tendency to take risks and to seek out new sensations are stated to be related to "sexual risk-taking." (A Positive Life Aids Service Organizations, 2009) Furthermore, "Coping responses also influence risk behavior. To escape from or relieve stress, some people engage in high-risk sexual behaviors or use drugs and alcohol, just as others may smoke cigarettes or overeat (Kalichman, 1998; Zierler & Krieger, 2000)." (A Positive Life Aids Service Organizations, 2009) Additionally it is stated that psychological orders including such as "personality disorders, self-destructive behaviors, hypersexuality, sexual obsession and compulsivity, depression, anxiety, and negative states of mind (eg,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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