The HIV/AIDS Apocalypse

"Catch a glimpse into the harsh reality of the HIV/AIDS crisis with 'The HIV/AIDS Apocalypse.' This article confronts the global impact of HIV/AIDS, which surpasses many recognized threats like terrorism. Despite technological progress, widespread ignorance and stigma aggravate this pandemic, affecting continents from North America to Africa. Discover the origins, modes of transmission, and societal challenges in combatting HIV/AIDS. The piece highlights the crucial role of education, awareness, and empathy in tackling this health emergency. Understand the urgency of addressing this often-overlooked crisis and how we can collectively work towards a more informed and compassionate response."

Engr. Ervin Goh

1/27/20184 min read

It is such ironic how in today's high tech world, major problems still exist. The problem that is looked at the most is terrorism. However, there is a problem that has killed and is still killing far more people than terrorism ever has. That problem is HIV/ AIDS. This virus has killed so many people that it is considered by many to be a pandemic. This disease has devastated places like the North America, Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. The reason that the disease has devastated so many people is because of a lack of knowledge and education on how to deal with the disease and because many high ranking politicians and other people try to downplay it severity. For these reasons the disease has had such a crushing effect on many countries.

Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome, popularly known by its abbreviation AIDS is a fatal disease as it attacks and destroys the immune system of the body. It is caused by a virus called Human Immuno Deficiency Virus or HIV in short. This virus is even invisible to a microscope and can remain in dead body for years together without showing any visible symptoms. AIDS is the last stage of infection of the virus. It takes at least 10 years of period between getting infected with HIV and reaching the stage of developing AIDS. The first ever case of a person with AIDS was detected in America in 1959 which later emerged as a dreadfully widespread disease in the 1980s in countries like France, Belgium, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe etc. In India, it was first reported in 1986. Our history begins with the origin of HIV: monkeys and apes. West African non-human primates have a disease of their own, labeled Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, or SIV. Currently, scientists believe that in the 1800s humans hunted chimpanzees for food and came into contact with their infected blood, allowing the virus to jump species and mutate into what is now HIV. This virus spread throughout Africa and entered the United States in the mid to late '70s. There are many stories of how this virus came about. One story rumored is that a monkey in Africa, infected with the HIV virus, stepped on a rock and slit the bottom of his foot leaving infected blood on the rock. Then a man walking the same path stepped on the same rock and the original blood mixed in his wound. No one really knows how it all started; the best explanation the book gives is human consumption of animal meat. Nonetheless HIV/AIDS is a serious disease that is killing humans little by little.

HIV/AIDS is a preventable disease, which is that everyone, if given the right education, can protect himself or herself. HIV is transmitted through heterosexual and/or homosexual contact with an infected partner; through intravenous drug use; (although less likely today) through blood transfusion, and lastly from mother to baby by crossing placenta during pregnancy or breast-feeding. The best protection during sexual contact is not to have sex, but if sex is happening the most effective protection is condoms.

The HIV virus has two types. The first one type is HIV-1, which is the main cause of AIDS worldwide. The second type is HIV-2, which is found mostly in West Africa. People can get this disease three ways: having intercourse with an infected person, sharing needles with an infected person (or contact with an infected person's blood on an open wound), and transfer of the virus from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or through breast-feeding. Those are the only ways that that the virus can be contacted through other people. This disease works by attacking a person's immune system, mainly the white blood cells (CD4 cells). By attacking the immune system it makes a person extremely vulnerable to other diseases, viruses, and infection which the body can normally fight off.

HIV is spread through specific bodily fluids. Fluids that can transmit HIV if in contact with mucous membrane or damaged tissues

  • Blood

  • Semen

  • Pre-seminal fluid ('pre-cum')

  • Rectal fluids

  • Vaginal fluids

  • Breast milk

Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, opening of the penis, and mouth. Damaged tissue is any tissue in which blood vesicles or capillaries (little blood vessels) may be exposed. HIV can also be introduced by injection, so dirty needles or tainted bloods are possible sources of infection. But before you freak out, blood is routinely tested and it is rare now when it happens. HIV cannot be spread through sweat, tears, or saliva. So you cannot give or get HIV from a kiss, unless both of you are bleeding from the mouth.

Awareness about the disease, its causes, and treatment should be created among the masses. Schools and colleges can be a very effective medium of creating awareness among the youth. These youths in turn can be instrumental in spreading awareness among the other sections of the society. HIV patients need to be cared with compassion and be allowed to live and die with dignity. Voluntary organizations can help the government in accomplishing this task by various means of advertising, performing street plays, conducting seminars and involving the youth. We must help these patients suffering from this fatal disease because we do not know what it feels to have it. However, the most interesting fact is that one cannot contract HIV/AIDS by hugging and talking or drinking and eating or even sharing common space with someone who is diagnosed with the disease, so we must not fear and discriminate people carrying the virus.

AIDS is now acknowledged as the worst plague humankind has ever faced. Years from now, people will ask about AIDS, as with the question, “How could they have known and failed to act?” So, we must start finding a way to lessen the numbers of patients or even exterminate the virus itself, but within ourselves we can help each other by fighting discrimination that arises from fear, ignorance, misunderstanding, and long-standing taboos about the illness which leads to the negative stereotypes and preconceptions related to sexuality, because treating each other without discrimination and respecting each other’s dignity and rights will surely eradicate the HIV/AIDS apocalypse that is evident in today’s society.