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Hiv in Georgia’s African American Communities

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HIV in Georgia’s African American Communities

Human Immunodeficiency Virus or commonly known as HIV is a virus that spread through body fluids deteriorating the immune system by destroying T-cells that fight against disease and infection. The HIV virus has no respect of person. It affects male and female, young and old, heterosexual or homosexual regardless of ethnicity, morals or values. It has destroyed families and it has brought families closer together. There is no cure for this particular virus, but with regular testing, early detection can be found. Which through proper medical care and a healthy diet, HIV can be controlled. There are some particular and necessary steps one must take to reduce the risk in contracting the virus. Partners should always practice safe sex, as well as getting tested regularly. Too many people are haphazardly having casual sex without thinking of the consequences and the affect it can have on their life, their partner life, and/or the lives of their family. Secondly, one should not share needles whether for medicinal purposes or as a drug user. Although, the virus has no respect of person, helping to consider the gender norms and inequality amongst transgender, men, women, and drug user’s, one ethnicity and gender have a higher rate of contracting the virus compared to other ethnic groups or gender.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, globally more than 70 million people have been infected with HIV and approximately 35 million people have died because of this virus. (WHO, 2016) In the United States, HIV currently affects 1.2 million people, with one in five people are unaware that they have it. (CDC, 2009) Even though the magnitude of this epidemic in the U.S. is reasonably small in comparison to the world’s total population, geographically in the southern states HIV heavily affects several populations. Despite the southern states holding one-third of the overall U.S. population, the South accounts for approximately 44 percent of people living with an HIV diagnosis. (CDC, 2014)

In 1982, the first HIV prevention program were ordinary measures initiated by predominantly homosexual men in New York City. (AIDS,2016) Amongst this and other HIV prevention programs mainly were planned to increase awareness, reduce transmission, provide important information regarding to the symptoms, and risk-reduction strategies. (CDC, 2006) Numerous of scientific studies have identified effective prevention interventions of several populations, and estimated that prevention efforts have averted more than 350,000 HIV infections in the United States to date. (CDC, 2009)

It is believed that HIV first originated around the 1920s in the Democratic Republic of Congo, when the virus crossed species from chimpanzees to humans by the humans hunting and consuming the ape’s meat. Researchers had found out that HIV has several similarities to the SIV, simian immunodeficiency virus, a virus that deteriorates the immune system of certain types of monkeys and apes. Scientists led a study to understand how the SIV developed in apes, and upon their discovery the infection came from the apes preying on smaller monkeys such as the red-capped mangabeys and the greater spot-nosed monkeys (Sharp, 2011). This study contributes to the best conventional concept of the humans killing the apes for their meat, allowing the SIV to acclimatize and use the human as its host. The transmission of HIV along with the signs and symptoms of the virus were then unknown to physicians, allowing it spread amongst people faster. By 1980, HIV may have already spread and infected over 300,000 people from five continents such as North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia (Avert, 2016) (Mann, 1989).

During the year of 1984, Dr. Robert Gallo the Institute of Human Virology of Clinical Care and Research director, along with his colleague Dr. Luc Montagnier discovered how HIV was the main cause of AIDS after several reported cases of homosexual men and numerous people who’ve received multiple blood transfusions were dying from AIDS. It was then found that a person can go without HIV treatment for approximately five to ten years before it quickly transition to AIDS. Depending on the stage of the HIV infection, signs and symptoms vary per person. In the early stages of contracting HIV, a person could occur no symptoms or one may have a flu-like illness including headaches, fever or sore throat. Over time the virus weakens the persons’ immune system causing them to develop and experience extreme weight loss, constant fever, swollen lymph nodes and among other illnesses.

Dr. Gallo and Dr. William Blattner in 1984, then published the first report of the high sensitivity of the HIV blood test. This test allowed health care workers to be screened for AIDS, which led to a faster HIV diagnosis while protecting the patients who were receiving blood transfusions. The following year, IHV senior researcher Dr. Mika Popovic along with Dr. Gallo developed a tissue culture technique,



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