By Tatum Brown

History of AIDS

Beginning in the US in the 1970's, doctors in Los Angeles and and New York were reporting homosexual male patients, suffering from rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses. These illnesses being reported were not normally found in people that had healthy immune systems. The term "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome," or AIDS was starting to be used in 1982 to describe the occurrences of opportunistic infections, Kaposi's sarcoma (a kind of cancer), and Pneumocystis jirovecii (pneumonia that was found in previously healthy people). The virus that causes AIDS was discovered by scientists the following year in 1983. At first, the virus was named HTLV-III/LAV (human T-cell lymphotropic virus-type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus), but was later changed to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). In later research, scientists found the HIV virus in chimpanzees located in Africa. They believe the virus spread from the chimpanzees to humans and mutated when humans hunted these chimpanzees for food, and came into contact with their infected blood when they butchered them for the meat. Over many years, HIV spread from Africa to places all over the world.

Impact of HIV/AIDS on Our World

The impact HIV/AIDS has had on our world is huge. This disease has affected almost every country, and the number of people that suffer from it continued to rise. In the world today, it is estimated that around 42 million people live with the disease. Most people think that globalization is the reason the disease continues to spread so quickly. In developing countries, the impact is a lot more powerful, in a bad way. HIV/AIDS has already devastated many people, their families, and even their entire communities. In places like Africa, the disease has left millions of children orphaned, disrupted village life, and is the reason for decreased civil order and economic growth. Out of all the people living with AIDS in the world, 95% of them live in  developing countries. As the disease continues to evolve, the amount of people that suffer from the disease will continue to rise, especially in places where there is poverty, social inequalities, and weak health services. AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is the continent that has been most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Africa is very vulnerable to the AIDS pandemic because compared to other regions in the world, they have the highest infection level, the lowest amount of access to care, and the least economic stability.

Treatment of HIV/AIDS

In the early 80's when people were diagnosed with AIDS, they were probably not going to live any longer than a couple of years. Now when people are diagnosed with the disease, around 30 different drugs have been created to help treat people suffering from AIDS/HIV. These drugs do not cure the disease, but if you take them, they help control the amount of the virus in your body, and protect your immune system. Most people that are taking these medications for AIDS/HIV, take 3 different kinds. Taking more than one drug helps protect you against HIV resistance, and the HIV in your body will be less likely to make new copies that don’t respond to your HIV meds. These drugs are a huge breakthrough for people that suffer from this disease, and even though nothing can cure HIV/AIDS, by taking these mediations people are able to live longer, healthier lives. New medications are continuing to be tested, and hopefully in the future, scientists will fin the cure to HIV/AIDS.