What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word AIDS? Most people think of a deadly virus that is transmitted by sex, needles, or blood transfusions. Then there are those who believe that one can get AIDS by hugging someone. Many of these people don't realize the severity of this modern plague. 665,357 people have AIDS in the United States alone by 1998, and 401,028 people have died from AIDS. Every hour, two teenagers contract the AIDS virus (Franks, 1999). In 1998, scientists believed that AIDS was the leading cause of death in men between 25 and 44 years of age and the fourth highest in women between 25 and 44 (What is AIDS, 1997). AIDS is defined as acquired immune deficiency syndrome. "Acquired meaning you catch it, immune deficiency means a weakness in the body's system that fights diseases, and syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease" (What is AIDS, 1997). A virus that attacks the immune system causes the AIDS virus. The body system that should eliminate the infection becomes damaged and is no longer able to perform its normal duties (Eisenberg, 1994). AIDS, originally thought to have come from monkeys, is now a growing disease in the United States and worldwide. .
The AIDS virus damages your CD4+ cells, also known as T-helper cells. A healthy person has between 500 and 1,500 CD4+ cells in one milliliter of blood, .
History of AIDS 4.
however, a person with AIDS or the HIV virus has a lot less, around 200 T-helper cells. These cells are important because they fight off bacteria and viruses. When a person doesn't have as many as they should, they aren't able to fight off these viruses, so the patient becomes susceptible to many different diseases (What is AIDS, 1997). Bacterium has shown to be helping prevent certain infections that go along with the AIDS virus (Eisenberg, 1994).
When a person has AIDS, the AIDS victim become susceptible to many diseases known as opportunistic infections.