A growing epidemic AIDS

A growing epidemic AIDS - A growing epidemic: HIV and AIDs...

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A growing epidemic: HIV and AIDs outbreak in Latin America and the Caribbean Nydia Elise Hernandez and Lauren Dodd Dr. Slinger Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean 20 Nov 2010
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HIV and AIDs are among the world’s most deadly viruses and diseases. Behind Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are the second most affected areas in the world with 1.1% of the population suffering from these ailments . HIV has affected over two million people in these areas. 1 This large number can be attributed to many different factors, some of which are wide spread poverty, unprotected sex drug use and political instability. While there are numerous amounts of causes that aid the spread there are just as many people and organizations that are working towards providing treatment and spreading information. The effects of HIV and AIDS in Latin America are far reaching. There are political, social and economic implications that came with these numbers . What is even worse is that even in this day and age with all the technology the numbers of the infected individuals is expected to increase in the coming years. 2 Many assume that these two are one in the same, but in actuality they are two different ailments. They are correlated yet one is a virus and the other is the actual illness. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is the actual virus that damages the hosts’ immune system and while AIDS which stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is the disease and the most advanced stage of the HIV. Just because one has HIV does not mean that one will automatically acquire AIDS. One can have HIV for many years with no signs or symptoms before ever getting AIDS. What HIV does is it “destroys and weakens the cells of the immune system” 3 with our immune system weakened we can no longer protect ourselves and are at a 1 “HIV and AIDS in Latin America” Averting HIV and AIDS, http://www.avert.org/aidslatinamerica.htm (accessed November 19 2010). 2 “Latin America HIV and AIDS statistics” Averting HIV and AIDS, http://www.avert.org/southamerica.htm (accessed November 19 2010). 3 “know your basics” Healthy with HIV, http://www.healthywithhiv.com/healthy-with- hiv/healthywithhiv/hiv_virus/ . (accessed November 20 2010).
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greater risk of getting life threatening diseases. With the help of new drugs it can take a long time for someone to get AIDS. But after one does develop AIDS the individual will most likely die within three years due to a failing immune system. This happens because “HIV is a mutating virus that evades the hosts’ immune responses and can replicate very rapidly”. 4 HIV is very tricky because when it harms our immune systems it cannot react on the defensive and lets other harmful ailments in. Just like our blood cells renew themselves the HIV virus does the same. The only difference is that HIV cannot replicate itself on its own it uses our cells and their system to do it for them. Just like many assume that they are one in the same people assume that one can
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A growing epidemic AIDS - A growing epidemic: HIV and AIDs...

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