The AIDS Epidemic
Today, forty million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. With an astounding number of cases being reported each year, something must be done to educate the world's youth about the dangers of this pandemic. With over 40,000 cases of HIV/AIDS being reported each year in America, and over 600,000 cases worldwide, a step must be taken to educate teenagers of the risks and statistics of this disease. HIV/AIDS does not work alone in gaining these astounding numbers–it works with fear, ignorance, and silence. Because I am not gay, I am not at risk. Because I do not inject drugs, I am not at risk. Because I am not hemophiliac, I am not at risk. But, we are at risk, each an everyone of us. HIV/AIDS is the third leading killer of young-adult Americans, with the rate of infection rising the fastest among women and children. But HIV/AIDS will not be third for long. Teenagers do not give each other heart disease or cancer because they believe that they are in love. HIV is different. As a world we must be better educated in the HIV/AIDS virus–what it does to the body, how it is contracted,and how it can be prevented.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. The virus is passed from one person to another through blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called an HIV infection. Most of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection. Blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, and other body fluids containing blood have been proven to spread HIV. Having unprotected sex, sharing dirty needles, and coming into contact with HIV positive blood are interactions that one can contract HIV/AIDS through.
AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. An HIV-infected person receives a diagnosis of AIDS after dev…