The African HIV-AIDS Crisis

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AIDS is a known issue when it comes to global health, however, the region it has the most impact on is Africa. The human immunodeficiency virus, more commonly known as HIV, is a retrovirus. A retrovirus is basically a virus or group of viruses that insert into a host cell in order to replicate. HIV affects cells of the immune system, and destroys or impairs their function. As HIV progresses, the immune system weakens, which causes the person infected to become more susceptible to other illnesses. HIV at its most advanced stage is called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, otherwise known as AIDS. It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS. HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. HIV infection is usually diagnosed through blood tests detecting whether or not there are HIV antibodies. There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective antiretroviral drugs can control the virus to an extent, so people living with HIV can live healthier and more productive lives (World Health Organization). Eastern and Southern Africa only accounts for five percent of the world’s population, however it is home to half the world’s population that is living with HIV. The region has been and continues to be the center of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and accounts for 48% of the world’s new HIV infections
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