Thursday, November 8, 2007

defining & history

day 8
Each day of the month leading up to World AIDS Day, I'll be posting some sort of resource, thoughts or action for you to use.

Quote of the day:
"It's a very human virus, a very human epidemic. It touches right to the heart of our existence," says Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS. "When you think of it, that in let's say 25 years, about 70 million people have become infected with this virus, probably coming from one [transmission] ... it's mind blowing."
-from Frontline's Age of AIDS

some oft-asked questions:

HIV/AIDS: what's the difference?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune defenses and ultimately causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if left untreated. By weakening the immune system, HIV opens the doors for a variety of other health issues to develop. When the immune system is weakened significantly, AIDS is the result.

you can find a more complete explanation here

I've heard it called a "pandemic". What's the difference between a "pandemic" and an "epidemic"?
An epidemic is a virus that affects a specific group of people. A pandemic is also a virus, and is both contagious and widespread.

an official definition can be found here

Where did HIV come from?
The latest research, coming out just this past May, extends the knowledge about the origin of HIV. HIV is a developed form of a disease found in chimpanzees in Cameroon, originally transmitted through usage as food (contracted possibly by hunters or slaves). This probably happened sometime in the 1930's. From there it was spread in a variety of ways, with the first cases in the US and France being determined to be a distinct health issue in 1981. By the time that the first case was diagnosed in the US, hundreds of thousands of people were already infected by the time the first case was officially diagnosed in Africa, millions were infected.

The Frontline video has an excellent summary of this history. also has a good description.

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