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HIV/AIDSHuman immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. In the US in 2015, greater than 1.1 million people aged 13-years and older were estimated to be living with HIV infection. It destroys CD4+ lymphocytes and impairs cell-mediated immunity, increasing risk of certain infections and cancers. Manifestations range from being initially asymptomatic to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is defined by serious opportunistic infections, cancers, neurological dysfunction, a CD4 count of < 200/μL, or a CD4+ cell percentage of ≤ 14%.Acute HIV infection, which causes very high plasma viral loads in the first few months, is an important driver of HIV epidemics. The hallmark of HIV infection is the progressive depletion of CD4 T-cells because of reduced production and increased destruction (Maartens, Celum, & Lewin, 2014).Transmission is sexual, with a needle or instrument-related, maternal (childbirth or breastfeeding), or transfusion or transplant related. Sexual practices with the highest risks are those that cause mucosal trauma. Anal-receptive intercourse poses the highest risk. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, trichomoniasis, and especially those that cause ulceration, increase the risk of HIV/AIDS several fold (Cachay, 2018).Initially, primary HIV infection may be asymptomatic or cause transient nonspecific symptoms. Symptoms during this asymptomatic period may result from HIV directly or from opportunistic infections. These include lymphadenopathy, white plaques due to oral candidiasis, herpes zoster, diarrhea, fatigue, and fever with intermittent sweats (Cachay, 2018).
HIV/AIDS Increased ComplacencyComplacency has been an inevitable consequence of progress on HIV/AIDS. Globally, more than half of all people living with HIV now have access to HIV treatment and AIDS-relateddeaths have almost halved since 2005. In the U.S., HIV infection rates dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2014. However, the nation’s chronic opioid crisis threatens the possibility of new HIV outbreaks across the country (Frost, 2018). Today, Americans diagnosed with HIV by the age of 25 who take their treatment as prescribed, can expect to live a long life with a zero chance of transmitting the virus to their partner or children (Frost, 2018).