The Know How of HIV and AIDS
What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV causes AIDS, which in turn causes the failure of the immune system.
How do you get HIV?
HIV is contracted by transfer of bodily fluids, such as blood. Mosquitoes, although spreading other diseases, cannot give you HIV, because others' blood is not injected into you when a mosquito bites.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. People at this stage of HIV have badly damaged immune systems and are greatly at risk of infection. At the end of 2010, an estimated 487,692 people in the United States alone are living with AIDS.
HOW DO WE STOP HIV / AIDS?
Currently, there is no permanent cure for HIV. People can seek treatment, though, by taking combinations of medicine, dubbed "cocktails". Cocktails can strengthen the immune system, but they are by no means a cure for HIV / AIDS. Even though cocktails may only work for some people, or only work for a small period of time, they have helped many people live with HIV for an extended period of time.
HIV can be prevented, however. Many people spread HIV by sharing needles that may be used to take hormones, steroids, or other drugs. Needles and razors should always be sterilized/disposed of to prevent the spread of HIV.
How can I help?
Educate yourself and spread the word! Many people are not aware of the danger of HIV / AIDS. Perhaps you should look into one of the following:
- http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/ The Global Fund to fight AIDS and other diseases
- http://www.iasociety.org/ International AIDS Society; currently with 14,717 members from 177 different countries.
- http://www.who.int/hiv/ World Health Organization website on HIV
- http://www.acet-international.org/ AIDS charity
- http://www.cdnaids.ca/ The Canadian AIDS society: similar to the international AIDS society, but for Canadians!
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:HIV/AIDS_organizations Wikipedia Listing of other HIV / AIDS based organizations. Be sure to check here for more resources!
HIV and AIDS poses a serious threat around the world. If we ever hope to eradicate them, more funding and research will be needed. Most importantly, we as a society need to spread the word and educate people about this subject to eliminate the stigma that follows the HIV community. AIDS can be stopped, although to do so, HIV / AIDS awareness on a global scale is a must.