Term Paper - AIDS - 1 The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is...

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The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is driven in part by conditions of poverty in which individual and household options are constrained and risky choices may be made to ensure survival. Gender inequality, power dynamics in sexual relations, and women’s lack of economic empowerment relate directly to patterns of poverty and are key factors in the spread of HIV/AIDS. At the same time, the epidemic leads to new social and economic burdens – often borne by women and girls – among households affected by HIV/AIDS that can stretch household safety nets to the breaking point. Neutralizing this self-reinforcing relationship between poverty and HIV/AIDS requires understanding how individuals and communities might best employ their resources and assets to prevent infection and to lessen the consequences of HIV/AIDS. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a collection of syndromes and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by infection with the immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the late stage of which leaves individuals prone to opportunistic infections and tumors. Although treatment for AIDS and HIV exist that slow the virus’ progression, there is no known cure. HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV; such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. This transmission can come in the form or anal or vaginal sex, blood transmission, contaminated needles, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids. Most researchers believe that HIV originated in sub-Saharan Africa during the twentieth century; it is now a pandemic, with more than 40 million people now living with the disease worldwide. As of January 2006, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization estimate that AIDS has killed more than 1
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25 million people since it was first recognized on December 1, 1981; making it one of the most destructive pandemics in recorded history. In 2005 alone, AIDS claimed between an estimated 2.8 million and 3.6 million, of which more than 570,000 were children. Many of these deaths are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, retarding economic growth by destroying human capital. Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection, but routine access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries. HIV/AIDS stigma is more severe than that associated with other life threatening conditions and extends beyond the disease itself to providers and even volunteers involved with the care of people living with HIV. Research questions and intervention strategies are only beginning to explore the relationship between property ownership and inheritance, and HIV prevention and lessening of the impact of AIDS. Yet, the importance of this relationship is clear in terms of social and economic development. The cost to households affected by HIV/AIDS can be great. AIDS-related
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Term Paper - AIDS - 1 The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is...

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