Aids Essay

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Introduction to HIV/AIDS In the early 1980s, the first recognized cases of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) occurred among homosexual men in the United States. These men suddenly began to develop rare opportunistic infections and cancers that seemed stubbornly resistant to any treatment. At this time, AIDS did not yet have a name, but it quickly became obvious that all the men were suffering from a common syndrome. By 1983, the etiological agent, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), had been identified. While some were initially resistant to acknowledge the connection (and indeed some remain so today), there is now clear evidence to prove that HIV causes AIDS. By the mid-1980‟s, it became clear that the virus had spread, largely unnoticed, throughout most of the world, and since then, the global AIDS epidemic has become one of the greatest threats to human health and development. At the same time, much has been learnt about the science of AIDS, as well as how to prevent and treat the disease. Global Overview Throughout the duration of the pandemic, more than 21 million people have already died from AIDS. In 2007 alone 2 million people succumbed to the illness, largely due to inadequate access to HIV prevention and treatment services. Every day, over 7500 more people become infected with HIV. On a global level, the HIV pandemic remains the one of the most serious infectious disease challenges facing public health. This concern has been addressed and recognized within international forums, and is represented as a primary concern within the Millennium Development Goals. According to the UNAIDS epidemiological update, in 2007 the total number of people living with HIV worldwide was 33 million. The scope of HIV/AIDS is far-reaching. Although 33 million HIV infected individuals is a staggering figure, this number does not account for the

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