Aids And Government Funding Essay, Research Paper
AIDS is a very complicated infection. It is not only infecting individuals, but it also infecting our society. Until a cure is reach it will continue to plague human society. No person will ever be truly safe. Our government needs to keep spending money on research to develop a cure for AIDS.
To fully understand why our government should continue to spend its funds on AIDS research one must first understand AIDS. No one actually knows where AIDS comes from. Americans say that it originated in Africa. Africans say that the Europeanours brought it to Africa. AIDS got its first documented case as late back as the 1950’s on the African continent. Africa has more documented cases than any where in the world. Scientist predict that three out of every ten sexually active people in Africa carry the AIDS virus. AIDS has become a threat to entire communities there. Scientist believe that the spread of the disease is almost entirely by heterosexual activity, since the amount of male and female infection are about equal. AIDS is a disease that can be spread through traveling. At first the disease was only in North America and Africa. It is now spreading all over the world. Although there are not as many cases of Aids in America as Africa the disease still exist at an alarming rate. AIDS was not discovered in America until 1981 and not given a name until 1984. In America AIDS is mainly a disease that plagues white males. It seems that most cases of AIDS are due to homosexuality and drug use. When people use drugs that use syringes, such as heroin or steroids they are at high risk. When one person uses a syringe and then gives it to another person they are sharing their blood. AIDS spreads faster among drug abuses that any other group because they are often careless with their needles (Taylor,6). Unfortunately these are not the only ways a person can contract AIDS. AIDS can also be brought on by heterosexual activities, with or with out intercourse being involved. In fact AIDS among teenagers in quickly becoming an at risk group. If there is a cut on or in the anus, vagina, penis, or mouth the disease, if present, will be spread. People can also contract AIDS through blood transfusions and during surgeries involving donor body parts including blood. It wasn’t until 1985 that blood was rigorously tested for the presents of HIV and other diseases. This test helped people who were hemophiliacs out very much. These are people that have a blood disorder that needs to be treated by regular blood transfusions. Even though it is now very rare to get AIDS through a transfusion it can and will happen to some one. A person can even be born with AIDS because their mother had the disease. Any profession that works with blood is also at risk. This leaves doctors, nurses, dentist, and eye doctors. AIDS can be found in saliva, tears, semen, blood, and vaginal secretions. Women, men, children; White or black; rich or poor; young or old; any person can get AIDS (Taylor 32).
What this disease does to a person is easily explained, but not easily understood. AIDS is a very dangerous disease. HIV its self can not kill a person, but it is usually another infection like pneumonia that kills the victim. The HIV virus, which causes AIDS, likes blood. Human blood is the most ideal place for this virus to sustain its life. The HIV virus must actually enter directly into the blood stream to be able to cause any sort of damage. That is why AIDS can only contracted through bodily fluids because they are direct doorways to the blood stream. The weird part is that just because a person has HIV does not mean that they will contract AIDS. HIV and AIDS are not the same disease. If a person does contract AIDS after contracting HIV this means that person will die from the disease and it’s side effects. What AIDS does to a person is rather interesting. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Acquired means that a person must usually contract the disease. Immunodefieciency is a compound word. The first word is immuno. This word refers to a person’s immune system, the part that fights off infectious diseases. When a person is immune to a disease that means their immune system will fight off an infection before it makes one sick. Deficiency refers to the lacking of something. So when these words are put together they means that a person’s immune system is not working properly and they can get sick much easier than before. A syndrome is a set of symptoms associated with a particular infection. AIDS is not distinguished by the virus that causes it but more by the effects that are associated with it.
HIV and AIDS are caused by microscopic semiliving organisms called viruses. When viruses are outside the human body they are just tissue and when they are inside a body they become living organisms. A virus grows the best in inside of a cell. They live off of the cell’s protein. Eventually the virus will destroy the cell and it must move on to a new cell in order for it to survive. HIV adds an akward twist to this little cycle. HIV targets the immune system . HIV hunts down a cell called the T cell helper. Without this cell the T cell does not know what to look for and it becomes useless. B cells do not know what they should attack. Basically the body does not even know that there is an invader present. HIV by itself does not kill, but it leaves the body open and vulnerable to other infections. These type of infections are often referred to as opportunist infections. To a normal person they can easily be fought off, but to a AIDS victim they mean death. AIDS itself is not a disease it is a disease that along with HIV kill a person . Two examples of AIDS diseases are Kaposi’s sarcomo, a skin cancer, and Pneumocystis carinii, which is a rare form of pneumonia (Taylor15). A person with out AIDS would not even have to worry about these diseases since they are so rare among people without HIV.
AIDS can be slowed down. There is a medicine that can be given to a person with AIDS that will slow down the process of their death Three of these drugs are Interferon, Interleukin, and ATZ. ATZ is an especially effective drug. It will keep a person alive for the rest of their lives. ATZ is a blue and white pill that must be taken together ever four hours in a twenty four hour day. Unfortunately this drug is expensive. Some people can spend up to 10,000 dollars annually to keep them selves alive(Taylor 50). This gives many the hope that a cure for AIDS may be discover before their time is up. Hopefully this will happen and many lives will be saved. One good thing about AIDS is that it is easily preventable for people who practice good health and have a decent amount of common sense. Now there are several ways that have made receiving and giving blood much safer. When a person gives blood the corporation that takes the blood can test it for AIDS. This testing is useful in two ways. It can first determine whether or nor the blood is infected with the AIDS virus which is very important to anyone who is going to receive this blood. It can also determine if that person is infected. If that person is infected they can be informed so they will consciously try not to infect any other person with the deadly AIDS virus. Another precaution that is used it that all blood is boiled at 133 degrees Fahrenheit. The AIDS virus by itself is very fragile. It can not withstand temperatures above 132 degrees Fahrenheit. So if blood is boiled at 133 degrees it will eliminate AIDS and most any other dangerous virus that may be inhabiting the blood. These processes assure society that they are getting safe blood. This is a major step in AIDS prevention that is relatively fool proof(Kurland 30). If a person wants to make sure that they do not get infected blood they can do one major thing. Giving ones own blood and putting it into a blood bank for later use is a major step in AIDS prevention. A person never knows when they may need surgery or a blood transfusion(Taylor 39).
The next way to practice AIDS prevention is to get blood test before marriage. Now that blood test are mandatory before getting a legal marriage licence it is very important to receive one with ones spouse. A blood test can determine whether or not either parties carries the AIDS virus. This can save a child’s life. If the mother has AIDS then the child will probably have AIDS. It is not fair to that child if it is born with a disease it had no choice in getting. The child did not ever contribute to the mother contracting it. One day it is hoped that if the mother has AIDS a medicine can be given, the disease be terminated, and then a marriage licence being issued. Some people find that mandatory blood testing before a marriage licence is issued is invasion of privacy. On the contrary it violates no civil right. Blood testing has been around for many years. Until recently it did not test for AIDS. If a person voluntarily takes the test then it does not violate any civil right(Kurland 30).
Drug Abuse is another area that could use a lot of AIDS awareness. The general drug addict is not a higher class citizen. Often the funds for safe syringes is not there. Often the drug addicts are not taught much drug awareness. It is very important that the risks of AIDS among drug users is verbalized and printed through out communities. When a person knowing puts a needle into their arm that has been used it is like playing Russian Roulette. It is only a matter of time before the gun goes off and kills that person. Most communities have drug abuse programs. These programs help drug addicts overcome their sickness. Often it is the first step that keeps many abusers out. It is very difficult for them to admit they hat acts as a barrier between bodies and bodily fluids. It help keep women from getting pregnant and it helps keep both parties from contacting sexual transmitted diseases(Taylor 37-38). Also it has become clear that promiscuous behavior can lead to contracting AIDS. When a person has sex with multiple partners their personal risks of contracting AIDS increases greatly. Often in the male homosexual communities recreational sex is practiced. This means meaningless sex with partners that are not always known. It would be very difficult to ask humans to stop having sex. If this was done in the homosexual communities, both male and female, all venerial and genital disease would have disappeared years ago. Unfortunately if humans were forced to stop having intercourse it would also cause the human race to stop reprocriating. This would cause a severe decrease in population and no one would be around to even consider the problem. Keeping away from prostitutes is another good way to keep away from AIDS. Since the virus seems to frequent prostitutes it would seem almost ignorant to frequent them. Even so people do go to prostitutes. Since it seems unlikely that the prostitutes would have their medical records on them it is a leap of faith to have intercourse with one( Kurland 32-33).
Often medical workers find themselves at risk of contracting AIDS since they work with blood. If contaminated blood happens to be touched and finds a small cut or abrasions then that medical professional has contracted the virus by blind dumb luck. One way the medical field goes about preventing AIDS is by wearing latex glove. These gloves are basically condoms for hands. Also when a medical worker is dealing with a patient that is in the late stages of the virus they will wear goggles over their eyes incase of coughing(Kurland 34). Medical workers should take all wound serious, even if they are small. There is a simple three step process that they should go about doing when they come into contact with anothers blood. 1.) Let the would bleed for a while. This will allow the infection to be washed away. 2.) Treat the wound with soap and water or any other disinfectant that kills germs. Fortunately away from blood the HIV virus is very weak. Any disinfectant kills is. 3.) See a doctor and tell him or her what happened.
There are also six ways basic ways a person can keep them selves safe from AIDS. 1.) Practice safe sex. Always use a condom. It is okay to say no to sex.
2.) Never use drugs. Especially ones with needles.
3.) Eat well. Maintain a well balanced diet.
4.) Exercise. This keeps the immune system active and healthy.
5.) Keep clean. Practicing good hygiene will keep a person safe from all ailments
6.) Think positively about ones self. It can actually help when it come to peer pressure associated with drugs and sex( Taylor 41-42).
The final question that must be answered is why should the United States government pay for the research and development of AIDS. Right now in the United States scientist are searching for the cure for AIDS in hospitals, universities, and government centers. These people need the funding that our government sends to them. With out it they can not conduct the high tech. experiments that they conduct. These scientist are looking for a vaccine. A vaccine is generally an injection that helps the immune system develop antibodies that defends the body from organisms that re on the attack. A vaccine is a medicine that is composed of germs or bacteria. It is very difficult to find a magical cure that will only knock off the infected cells and not the living. Right now the only ways scientist and doctors know how to get rid of the virus is to get rid of all of the cells, infected or not. Unfortunately this can kill a person(Taylor 49). There are approximately one AIDS related deaths every twelve minutes in the United States. Yet there continue to be arguments in our nation that there is too much being spent on AIDS research and development. People think that billion dollar budgets are spent on military actions mainly. On the contrary billions of dollars are spent on medical research and care. Out of these billions medical provisions to elderly, veterans, and the poor are taken. The rest is left for other organizations and AIDS research is only one of the hundreds that receive this money. Through the governmental grants much progress is made. The question that is often asked is where does AIDS sit on the list of priorities? Does it really deserve as much funding as it gets? Cost alone should not be what keeps the research of AIDS from being a national priority. Research on this virus is just as important as any other research being conducted today in our country. The delay on such research will not only prevent a vaccine from be created, but it will also cause greater amount of money to be spent in the future. Inflation will eventually become an issue. The people who contract AIDS will only increase in numbers. At risk categories will also only increase. AIDS will not go away. In the history of medicine only small pox has been illuminated. AIDS research is not something that a fixed sum of money can be thrown at and hope for a cure. As the medicine progresses so will the cost. The cost of AIDS research is exponential. That must be remembered when the government considers how much money would be spent on it. AIDS must be treated as a disease that will be around for a long time if not forever. ” Hesitation by the U.S. government to carry out necessary HIV research would be criminal.” – Bruce Flemming
HIV remains a highly lethal communicable disease. Despite increased medical management the number of AIDS victims continues to rise each year. Hospital are forced to increase the care and time the spend on making sure nothing in contaminated. Hospitals are also forced to care for more and more AIDS patients. This increases the risks they must take with the disease. If HIV research continues to be a lower priority in our country’s priorities it will be the gay men and women, needle users, sexual partners, and their children who will suffer the price of our negligence to disease control. All men are created equal no matter their life styles. Who should be sentenced to death for a mistake that was made(Daniel 62-70).
In 1991 271, 000 people are estimated to have AIDS. of these people 54,000 are estimated to not make in another year. 54,000 people is more than all of the American deaths in World War I and Vietnam War combined. This number is also only an estimate. There could be many more people with the disease that do not even know it yet(Check 69). If a cure is not reach soon the deaths will not they will only continue. We need our government to continue its efforts at finding a cure. No person should rest until the cure is reached and dispersed around the globe to every corner and slum, no matter how far away. Works Cited page
1. Check, William. AIDS. New York, New York. Chelsea House
2. Day, Lorraine. AIDS What the Government Isn t Telling You.
Palm Desert, New Mexico. Rockford Press, 1991.
3. Daniel, Eileen. Taking Sides. Guilford, Massachusetts.
Dunskin Publishing Group, 1993.
4. Group: Report Names of Those with HIV. The Courier-Journal. 28 September, 1999 sec 2:1.
5. Hendin, David. Death as a Fact of Life. Toronto, Canada.
George J. McLeod Limited. 1973.
6. Jussim, Daniel. Medical Ethics. Englewood. Silver Burdett
Press, INC. 1991.
7. Kurland, Morton. Coping with AIDS. New York, New York. Rosen
Publishing Group. 1987.
8. Satris, Stephen. Taking Sides. Guilford, Massachusetts.
Duskin Publishing Group. 1984.
9. Task Force: Doctors Should Identify HIV Patients by Name.
The News Enterprise. 28 September, 1999. Sec 1:1.
10. Taylor, Barbara. AIDS. New York, New York. Rosen Publishing
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