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Aids Essay, Research Paper
AIDS, as everyone knows, is one of the most serious diseases in the world, which scientists and experts have been struggling since people found the first patient. And nobody has any dissent about HIV can course AIDS-this was truth and was proved for a long time. But recently, the South African president Thabo Mbeki gave people new idea-HIV may not course AIDS. In this assignment, I will say something about AIDS, Society and Science.
About twenty years ago, healthy young men began to die in large numbers form an unknown disease. With the knowledge of unusual systemic infections accumulated, and the development of technology, in 1981, studies indicated that these patients had suddenly and inexplicably lost their normal immunity to disease. They had an illness for which modern medicine had no name and, in our ignorance, we called it Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome-or AIDS(Cahill,1983).
In June 1981, AIDS was believed to be caused by HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV has been found in blood, semen, saliva, tears, nervous system tissue, breast milk, and female genital tract secretions; however, only blood, semen, female genital tract secretions, and breast milk have been proven to transmit infection to others.
Transmission of the virus occurs through sexual contact including oral, vaginal, and anal sex; via blood through transfusions or needle sharing; and from a pregnant women to the fetus or a nursing mother to her baby. Other transmission methods are rare and include accidental needle injury, artificial insemination through donated semen, and kidney transplantation through the donated kidney.
The infection is NOT spread by casual contact such as hugging and touching, by inanimate objects such as dishes or toilet seats, or by mosquitoes. It is not transmitted to a person who donates blood (although it can be transmitted from the blood to the person receiving the transfusion–this is why blood banks screen donors and test the blood thoroughly); it is also not transmitted to a person who, for example, donates a kidney for transplantation. HIV invades a person’s white blood cells and disables the body’s immune system. The weakened immune system is unable to fight off diseases, including those that are otherwise not serious or deadly. These barious illnesses, which are collectively labeled “AIDS”, eventually result in death(Roleff,1998).
People who have HIV in their bodies, but who don’t yet show any signs of illness, are called HIV positive. HIV may remain undetected that produce no symptoms for up to 10 years before a person is diagnosed with AIDS, the person may look and feel quite healthy. When the virus becomes more active and starts to cause ill health. When the virus become more active and starts to cause ill health. We say that the person is developing AIDS itself, often called full-blown AIDS.(Bevon,1988)
Prevention of AIDS requires self-discipline and strength of character. The requirements often seem personally restrictive but they are effective and can save lives.
1. Do not have sexual intercourse with: people known or suspected to be infected with AIDS multiple partners a person who has multiple partners people who use IV drugs
2. Do not use intravenous drugs. If IV drugs are used, do not share needles or syringes. Avoid exposure to blood from injuries, nosebleeds, and so on, where the HIV status of the bleeding individual is unknown. Protective clothing, masks, and goggles may be appropriate when caring for people who are injured.
3. People with AIDS or asymptomatic individuals who have a positive antibody test may pass the disease on to others and should not donate blood, plasma, body organs, or sperm. From a legal, ethical, and moral standpoint, they should warn any prospective sexual partner of their HIV positive status. They should not exchange body fluids during sexual activity and must use whatever preventative measures (such as a latex condom) that will afford the partner the most protection.
4. HIV positive women should be counseled before becoming pregnant about the risk to their infant and medical advances which may help prevent the fetus from becoming infected.
5. HIV positive women should not breast feed their infant. Safer sex behaviors may reduce the risk of acquiring the infection. There remains a risk of acquiring the infection even with the use of condoms. Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexual transmission of the virus.
AIDS and Society
Serious Area of AIDS
Today AIDS is a major health concern with more than 315,000 people in the U.S. diagnosed with the infection in the last decade. More than half of these people have died, most within 4 years of showing symptoms of the disease. Estimates from the World Health Organization show more than 500,000 cases of AIDS in the world (considered a low estimate because of non-reporting and lack of adequate definition). In some countries, heterosexual transmission of the disease is much higher than in the U.S. The 2.2 million Americans now carry the HIV virus (but are not yet symptomatic). The most serious area is Africa, there are more than 30 million people carry the HIV, most of them are in low class of the society. The reason is poverty.
Mbeki’s Speech About AIDS
From above information, we can see the problem of AIDS, these theories have been proved by expert. But recently, somebody declared his new idea.
One month ago, the South African President Thabo Mbeki spoke in Pretoria and send a letter about AIDS to world leaders. In his speech, in a country with one of the world’s fastest-spreading AIDS epidemics, the restlessly curious Mbeki has repeatedly ignored medical consensus and shrugged off price discounts offered by pharmaceutical companies, steadfastly refusing to distribute antiretroviral medicines, such as AZT, to South Africans infected with the AIDS virus, HIV(Jeter,2000). Mbeki also convened an AIDS advisory panel that includes several scientists who reject the conventional idea that the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, causes AIDS, an incurable disease that severely weakens the immune system and leads to death. Mbeki has repeatedly questioned not only the efficacy of AZT–a drug widely used in the West to slow progression of the disease–but also its safety.
“It seems to me that everybody in government should try to understand this thing as thoroughly as possible so that we can respond to this issue,” he said in an interview with reporters, “There are real, genuine scientific questions recognized by scientists that need to be resolved. Mbeki’s refusal to use commonly accepted drugs in the struggle against AIDS comes even as the United States and other Western countries–which fear that the Third World’s escalating AIDS crisis could destabilize global markets and world security–are looking to relatively industrialized South Africa to develop a model for curbing the spread of AIDS in the developing world (Jeter,2000).
Efect of Mbekie’s speech
With an estimated 10 percent of South Africa’s 43 million people infected with HIV, Mbeki’s administration has refused to distribute AZT even to pregnant women, who if given the drug during the three months prior to delivery, are half as likely to pass HIV on to their children.
When scientific controversies become matters of public debate, claims about how such controversies should be resolved often get mixed up with arguments about free speech and its suppression. Mbeki, for example, compared the HIV dissenters with victims of the apartheid regime, who were silenced because the established authority believed that their views were dangerous.
As such controversies drag on and become public, the media begin ranking the tokens of credibility of the participants.
The very existence of ongoing scientific controversy on a topic that ordinary people care about often fuels distrust of science, to the extent that people imagine science to be a producer of certainty. Scientists themselves know better: They recognize that most new knowledge is provisional–but they often profess absolute confidence in their findings, because they believe this is what the public expects of them. The more that scientists persist in over-claiming, and the more that people demand absolute certainty, the more distrust of science is likely to escalate, and relations between scientists and non-scientists will become ever more fraught.
In modern society, the situation of science is very important, no science no development, nobody dears its power. But in our media-intensive culture it is not difficult t find differing opinions. Thousands of newspapers and magazine and dozens of radio and television talk shows resound with differing points of view. Even some higher government officers give people ignorant ideas. Although how to evaluate the information from different aspects depends on themselves, but in poor area where people are very low educated, it is very easy to mislead people. Scientists and non-scientists alike remain mired in bad habits that make it hard to respond productively to incidents like Mbeki’s letter. Addressing those habits will not solve the vast problems caused by the AIDS epidemic, but doing so would make it easier to confront such problems directly and effectively.
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