Human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS. This is a serious condition where affected individual’s immune system fails on them. According to the CDC, there are about 1.1 million Americans who are living with HIV, and 21% of them do not even know they have it . The biggest problem with HIV/AIDS is ignorance and people unaware that they can spread it. As for most sexually transmitted disease, the best way of prevention is just abstinence. Safe sex can never be 100% safe, and people should always be aware of the consequences, even if they can be slim. You never know when you can be a part of the 1%. Sometimes your partner might not even know that he or she has AIDS. It’s better to just be safe and test yourself and your partner before intercourse. “Silence has equaled death” .
By the 1990s, one person would be infected with HIV every hour everyday. HIV/AIDS has become the leading cause of mortality for people aged 25-44 . Many of those people actually are infected with HIV in their teenage years.
Experts have determined that AIDS largely affect populations with poor health, education or housing. Living conditions determine a lot about a person and the type of education they are exposed to. Also people in lower living conditions might not even have access to common contraceptives or even know what they are. They might not even know what HIV or AIDS is and have no way of testing themselves. Also some of these patterns are seen globally. HIV/AIDS is seen a lot in Africa and slowly coming in South Asia.
It was estimated that in 1990s that “20 to 30% of gay youths would be infected by their 30th birthday” . Out of all the HIV-infected Americans in 1998, 63% of them were African American. A survey conducted by the CDC, determined that from 1998 to 200, about a third of gay black men in their 20s are HIV positive . Another one of the major causes of HIV/AIDS is intravenous drug use. About half of the people in New York City with HIV were intravenous drug users.
The search for a cure is still ongoing. But there is an increase in new effective drug therapies that keep people with HIV healthy and increase their life span. The CDC has implemented a variety of programs in order to improve treatment, care and support for people with AIDS. Some of the divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention groups include the Prevention-Intervention Research and Support, Prevention-Surveillance and Epidemiology, Global AIDS Program and more . In an article in the Wall Street Journal, there is mention of finding a vaccine for HIV. Research is extremely important with HIV and there are many advances globally trying to find a cure or prevention. Researchers from the Center for AIDS Program of Research in South Africa found out a key change in the “outer coating of the HIV virus that has enabled two HIV-infected women to develop broadly neutralizing antibodies” . This can greatly advance the field of HIV research. The problem with the HIV virus is that it is always changing, but they were able to create one antibody that was able to kill up to 88% of HIV strains from around the world” . This study represents a “key advance in the vaccine field” . It will take a long time to really find a solid cure for HIV, as most research takes a long time. But with slow steps, I am optimistic that large strides will occur in this field.
Successful AIDS prevention is based on two principles: “It must recognize the urgency of the problem of HIV and the exigencies, both person and structural, of the people it is targeting. And it must respect their social norms: their identities, values, and desires, expressed in their relationship between individuals and within communities” . I feel with proper awareness, education and research, we can strive towards a better future with curing and preventing AIDS.
 Community: Risk, Identity, and Love in the Age of AIDS by Judith Levine