Hiv Pandemic : The Ongoing Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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1.1 The HIV Pandemic: The ongoing Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) pandemic has and continues to devastate many individuals across the globe, leaving children orphaned, families fractured, and local economies disrupted. The first known and confirmed case of HIV infection dates back to 1959 [1], however AIDS-related pathologies were not recognized as interrelated outcomes from the same disease until 1981 when clusters of young, homosexual men in New York City and Los Angeles began presenting with Pneumocystis pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma [2,3], illnesses most often associated with compromised immunity. The causative agent of this immunodeficiency, initially known as Human T-Lymphotropic Virus, type III, now known as HIV, was first discovered in 1983 by French and American scientists [4,5]. Since this discovery, an estimated 39 million people have died from HIV/AIDS, and over 35 million people are living with HIV today with an estimated 2.1 million new infections believed to occur each year based on the most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) [6]. Sub-Saharan Africa represents the most heavily burdened region with women disproportionately affected; accounting for 58% of HIV infected individuals. Furthermore, young women, aged 15-24 from this area represented 60% of all newly infected individuals in 2013 [7]. Young women therefore represent a unique group at high risk for acquiring HIV, and reasons for this increased susceptibility require further
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