Communicable Disease HCS/457 August 30, 2010 Rachaline Napier Communicable Disease What is a communicable disease? A communicable disease is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from one person to another either directly by contact or circuitously by fomites and vectors. HIV/AIDS is one of the many communicable diseases in the world. Throughout this presentation, a detailed analysis will be given on HIV/AIDS. I will also recommend different ways a community can educate individuals in order to help prevent this disease. HIV, also known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that attacks the immune system. If the immune system is not strong enough, it is hard for the body to fight off the virus. White blood cells are an imperative element of the immune system. HIV assaults and obliterates CD4+ cells. When a numerous amount of CD4+ cells are destroyed, the body can no longer protect itself against infection. This stage of HIV infection is AIDS, also known as, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Individual that has AIDS show a low number of CD4+ cells and get contagions of cancers that seldom arise in vigorous individuals. Having HIV does not indicate that you have AIDS. No one can just get AIDS. A person may get tainted with HIV, and then later develop AIDS. It takes longer for HIV to develop into AIDS, even without any treatments. Medications can slow the process or even stop the damage to the immune system if an individual has been diagnosed with HIV before it becomes AIDS. With the right treatments, people are able to live long active lives with HIV. HIV is contracted many different ways. The most common way an individual contracts HIV is through infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Sharing drug needles with someone that is infected is another general way of contracting the virus. HIV can also be passed along from mother to child during pregnancy, child birth, and breast feeding. It is known that HIV cannot endure outside the body. HIV cannot be spread through informal contact such as kissing or sharing a drink with a person that has been infected. Symptoms of HIV may not show in the early stages. Individuals can possibly mistake the symptoms for mono or the flu. Common symptoms that may occur in the early stage include: headache, swollen lymph nodes, fever, skin rash, sore throat, muscle aches and joint pains. These symptoms may emerge from a couple of days to various weeks after an individual has primarily contracted the virus. Once the premature symptoms are gone, an individual that is infected with the virus may not have these symptoms again for years. At a definite point, symptoms resurface and then linger. These symptoms usually include: night sweats, weight loss, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and excessive tiredness. AIDS associated symptoms include brain tumors, other health problems, and serious weight loss. These infections can result in death without any treatments. As with other diseases, each person deals with the disease differently. Some may not live a couple of months after contracting the disease and some may even live a fairly normal life for many years. There are even some HIV positive individuals that stay healthy without taking the antiretroviral medications. Getting tested is the only way for a person to know for sure if they have been infected with HIV. If a person has been infected with HIV, the immune system will make antibodies in order to obliterate the virus. These antibodies can be found in the blood stream only by doing a blood test. There are two tests that are performed by most doctors. These tests are called the ELISA and the Western blot assay. The ELISA is the first test that is conducted. If the results are positive, the test will performed again. If there is a positive result on the second test, a Western blot assay will be conducted. HIV antibodies could take at least six months to show up in a blood sample. Many aspects of HIV are potentially stressful. For example, fear of death, the need to adhere to complex medication regiments, side effects of the treatments, interactions with a complex medical system, symptoms associated with disease progression, financial difficulties, stigma, and the need to incorporate a new identity as someone with a serious illness are all potential stressors associated with being HIV positive. It is important to note that these stressors are not necessarily unique to HIV (Moskowitz, 2009). There is no cure for AIDS, but there are treatments for HIV. The customary treatment for HIV is an amalgamation of medications called highly active antiretroviral therapy. Antiretroviral medications slow the pace at which the infection multiplies. Taking these medications can diminish the quantity of the infection virus in the body and help one stay vigorous. Babies infected with HIV from birth should be given powerful drugs to fight the virus as soon as possible. In a comparison of treatment strategies, Avy Violari of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and colleagues report that babies getting medication, even when they are just weeks old, showed dramatically better survival than those treated only after HIV related symptoms appeared (Seppa 2008). There is never an easy time to determine when it is best to start treatments because of the advantages and disadvantages of taking the medications before any symptoms arise. If there are no symptoms and the CD4+ cell count is at a healthy level, treatment may not be needed at that time. Once treatments have started, it is detrimental that all medication be taken properly. If treatments do not work, it can be determined that the virus has become resistant to the medication. This can happen if the medication is not taken appropriately. In conclusion, HIV/AIDS is something that everyone needs to know about. This disease can be deadly and many know nothing about it. Information needs to be provided to people so they will know all about the disease. This will also show people that they do not have to be afraid of those that have the disease. Communities need to get together and come up with way to show teenagers that safe sex is the best sex. BET’s Rap It Up is one global awareness campaign to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Rap It Up is about taking a stand in your life and community to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is about protecting yourself and those you care about, being informed, getting tested for HIV annually, talking openly with your partner, friends and family and taking action in your community (2010). Instead of being scared; be brave and show everyone that there is nothing wrong with getting tested. It is better to know than not know. References BET Networks and BET Interactives,LLC. (2010). Rap-It-Up. Retrieved from https://www. rapituppresents. com Moskowitz, J. , Hult, J. , Bussolari, C. , & Acree, M. (2009, January). What works in coping with HIV? A meta-analysis with implications for coping with serious illness. Psychological Bulletin, 135(1), 121-141. Seppa, Nathan. “Treat HIV-positive babies early. (Brief article). ” Science News 174. 13 (Dec 20, 2008): 9(1). References This is a hanging indent. To keep the hanging indent format, simply delete this line of text using the backspace key, and replace the information with your reference entry.