Numerous Researches has been done on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, mostly referred to as AIDS, which is one of the world’s health priorities. This paper seek to answer some of the questions that most often arise concerning this syndrome such as: What is the onset of AIDS and what are the contributing factors? How does it affect an individual’s cognitive, emotional, social and intellectual development? And finally, are there medically proven cures to this syndrome so far? It will therefore review some of these researches in a bid to articulate solutions to the above listed questions and further lay a path that will attract even more research on the topics in future.
HIV/AIDS is one of the most prevalent diseases in the word having been discovered approximately 30 Years ago. It continues attract numerous researches and even more topics of discussions that could also be researched on. Many researchers and research organizations continue to explore avenues on how to treat this syndrome as well as decrease its prevalence level .This paper will review other works in a bid to establish the onset, effects and treatment of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and further establish if there are any medically proven cures that have been discovered so far.
Description of Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage characterized by occurrence of any of the more than opportunistic infections or related cancers that occurs when one is infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that infects and destroys the body’s immune system. This virus attacks vital body immunity cells hence leading to decreased level of the immunity making it prone to other opportunistic infections. HIV is a retrovirus that infects and destroys cells and some of the body neurons hence depleting its immunity (Ltd, 2010).
Onset of the syndrome and the contributing factors.
As earlier noted, AIDS is a result of HIV infection. This virus is usually transmitted via sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral or anal) with an infected person; sharing of syringes, contaminated needles or other sharp instruments or transfusions of contaminated blood. It can also be transmitted between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or even breastfeeding. But what are the contributing factors that lead to these infections (Ltd, 2010)?
There are many social, biological and economic factors that arguably contribute to the infection and spread of AIDS. Some of these are as elaborated below.
AIDS is most associated with poverty. Patria Rojas, Robert Malow,Beverly Ruffin, Eugenia Roth and Rhoda Rhosembera(2011) in their article sought to establish if poverty really is a contributing factor to the contact and spread of Aids. They showed that low per capita income and high-income inequality were greatly linked with the percentage of HIV infection rates. Similarly, the 2001 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS noted that and I quote “poverty, underdevelopment and illiteracy are among the principal contributing factors to the spread of HIV/AIDS” (Patria Rojas, 2011).
It is also noted that gender is also a contributing factor to the spread of this syndrome with girls and Women being more susceptible than males to HIV infections. Biologically, the risk of women infection is higher than that of men. Bachmann.et.al noted that amongst those living with AIDS, a high percentage were female largely on the 25 years bracket while the younger groups had lower rates (Patria Rojas, 2011).
Married couples were also found to be more susceptible to AIDS infection where one member infected the partner thus raising the spread of the syndrome (Patria Rojas, 2011).
Lack of information and skills for protection
Sex being a taboo in most of the communities, people still leave with that misconception hence ending up not getting important information on how to protect themselves from the. There is also the misguided bet that one can tell the HIV status of a person just by the look hence some people would rush to engage in sexual behavior with someone who may appear healthy (Patria Rojas, 2011).
Feelings of invincibility
Adolescents more or less tend to underestimate and downplay their risk to to HIV infection. Bachmann.et.al found that many young people ignore the fact that their partners’ behavior may increase their risk to AIDS contamination. This feeling of invincibility together with the lack of awareness on the consequences of their risky deeds increases their risk even the more (Patria Rojas, 2011).
Sexually transmitted infections(STIs)
These infections increases the level and likelyhood of HIV transmission as put across by The 2001 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS.WHO makes an estimate that at least a third of youths are prone to STIs which increase the likelihood of infection with this syndrome (Patria Rojas, 2011).
Alcohol and drug abuse
As established above that sharing of sharp objects is one of the causative of HIV infections (Patria Rojas, 2011).
Effects of AIDS
Direct or indirect effects of Aids can affect brain functioning as stated by Albert Bandura in his article, ‘Perceived Self-Efficacy in Cognitive Development and Functioning’. However,these effects tend to vary from individual to individual. For instance, some medications used to treat infections associated with AIDS cause cognitive complications such as delirium and psychosis. These complications have effects on daily functioning and most often reduce the quality of a person life.
Emotional and social effects
Michelle Burden Leslie, Judith A. Stein, Mary Jane Rotheram.(2002), in their journal noted that medications meant to counter opportunistic infections can cause emotional reactions hence affecting the emotional and social development. This may affect the person’s emotional life that further spreads to the workplace and other social places. Once diagnosed with the syndrome, initial feeling of shock and denial will most often turn to guilt, fear, sadness and sense of hopelessness. This may lead to withdrawal from the society hence shielding one off the social life. It is at these times that a person will need support from friends and family members.This forms a vicious cycle that touches on the individuals infected and those affected oftenly with negative impacts. (Rotheram-Borus, February 2002).
AIDS diagnosis may lead to tumor and shock that negatively affects the brain hence negatively affecting the intellectual capacity of the affected person. Similarly HIV infection leads to increase in number of orphans. This hence affects the orphaned child intellectual capability negatively as they try to cope with the new life Similarly, HIV/AIDs may cause deaths of the teachers hence depleting the intellectual arena of a country due to reduced manpower. (Rotheram-Borus, February 2002).
There are neither known treatments for AIDS nor vaccines for HIV infections. However, the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) greatly increases the survival of infected persons and reduces the likelihood of infection of babies born to HIV positive mothers. (Rotheram-Borus, February 2002).