Essay on Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases: HIV

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Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases HIV or the Human Deficiency virus is like other viruses including the flu, but the one thing that makes this virus so different than any other is that the body is unable to clear this one out completely. Once someone is infected, there is no cure. Over time, HIV can also hide or mask itself in the body's cells. The cells within a person's body that fight off infection are called CD4 cells or T cells. HIV attacks these cells and copies or replicates itself inside these cells, then destroys them. HIV over time will destroy so many of these cells that the body is unable to fight off infection anymore. When this starts happening, AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome happens which is the final stage…show more content…
Specific skin cancers including Kaposi's Sarcoma and lymphomas also happen in patients who are HIV positive” (Mayo Clinic, 2013). Antivirals are the treatment for HIV and presently there is no known cure. Treatment most often involves combinations of different drugs to avoid creating strains of the virus that are immune to single drug treatments (Mayo Clinic, 2013). The number of CD4 or T cells monitors treatment response. The viral load should be undetectable while undergoing antiviral therapy. The count is checked when treatment starts and usually monitored every 3-6 months. Even if someone has an undetectable viral load, the spreading of HIV is still a possibility. According to estimates and numbers provided by the CDC, about one and a half million people 13 years of age and younger is HIV positive. Demographics also show that almost 20% of people who are infected do not know they have the virus. The CDC estimates that now every year, there are about 50,000 new cases diagnosed (2013). At risk groups include gay men, bisexual people, and African Americans (CDC, 2013). Young African American males are at greatest risk for contracting HIV among various ethnicities and races (CDC, 2013). An individual's risk for HIV or social determinants of health related to HIV is income, education, geographic region, poverty, gender orientation, early childhood experiences, and alcohol or substance abuse. The CDC
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