Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, also know as AIDS, is a silent invader. The first cases of this disease were reported in the early 1980â€™s. AIDS is caused by the infection known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is a microscopic organism that can grow and multiply inside living cells. HIV attacks and disables the bodyâ€™s immune system the immune system is the system that usually fights off illnesses. â€œWhen the immune system breaks down, a person with AIDS will develop life-threatening illnesses.â€ (Flynn& Lound, 6) The invasion of the AIDS virus is an individualâ€™s body leaves the body open to an invasion by many other different infections, called â€œopportunistic diseases.â€ These infections are the main causes of death of AIDS patients. Because there is not yet a cure for AIDS, once the disease invades the body there is no way to get rid of it.
AIDS is a life-threatening disease and those infected are often treated as invaders although they are the ones who were invaded. Although AIDS first appeared in the United States in the early 1980â€™s, HIV â€œfirst gained a foothold in humans some fifty or more years ago in Africa.â€ (Joseph, M.D., 14) At that time many hunters and their families killed and ate monkeys that carried the then undiagnosed and unnamed virus. Stephen C. Joseph, M. D. said that in the 1970â€™s, when he practices medicine in Central Africa, he saw â€œpatients with wasting syndromes, atypical progressive infections, bizarre malignancies-all undiagnosed due to lack of laboratory facilities or lack of specific knowledge.â€ Joseph went on to say that â€œmost of the mortally ill children I was caring for had a combination of severe malnutrition and one or more infectious diseases. These children were in a way the analog to todayâ€™s people with AIDS-they suffered malnutrition to such an extreme that their immune systems collapsed.