By: Laurence Fairchild

What are HIV/AIDS?

Aids HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a very destructive virus that attacks the body's immune system eventually leaving the body unable to protect itself against the germs it is exposed to everyday. It can be spread through sexual contact, blood contact, and from mother to child. The virus uses the white blood cells in the body to replicate itself. It may take several years to break down the complete immune system. People who are diagnosed as HIV positive eventually will have AIDS but will not die from AIDS. The weakened immune system will allow the body to be very vulnerable to pneumonia or cancer.

How has HIV/AIDS impacted our world?

HIV/AIDS is a serious problem around the world, killing millions of people every year. It effects people in hundreds of different countries, but the vast majority of people who have it, are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, living conditions in Africa, and many other places around the world, are very poor, helping the virus spread easier through unsanitary cities. It is a serious problem, and thankfully, people take it very seriously.

What is being done to prevent and stop HIV/AIDS?

The most effective way to prevent HIV is to inform and educate men and women about the disease. People are urged to practice safe and protected sex or to abstain. HIV/AIDS is a very unpredictable medical condition, everyone is encouraged to have a monogamous sex life and to make sure that partners are AIDS-free to avoid being infected.

There are a few treatments, but none can fully cure it. In 1987, a drug called AZT became the first approved treatment for HIV diseases. Since then, approximately 30 drugs have been approved to treat people living with HIV/AIDS, and more are under development.