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Communicable Disease Paper: HIV/AIDS

Ann M. Gove
July 9, 2014
Rachaline Napier

Communicable Disease Paper: HIV/AIDS
Communicable Disease
HIV is a communicable disease that stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus; which
itself can be broken down to this meaning H-Human- this particular disease is one that can only
infect humans. The I- Immunodeficiency- HIV in this disease your immune system is weakened
destroying important cells that fight infection and disease (AIDS, 2012). Having a "deficiency"
immune system, you cannot fight or protect your body. The V-Virus- meaning the virus is only
able to reproduce by overtaking the cells of its host body. In HIV is much like other viruses
including those like the common cold or flu, the most important difference is that over time your
immune system can kill most viruses from your body ("PubMed Health," 2013). The difference
in HIV is that this virus and is unable to be eliminated by the immune system, and you are
infected for life with the human immune virus. The HIV is a viral infection that will gradually
destroy a healthy immune system, but the virus can lie dormant for long periods of time in your
bodys cells attacking the T-cells or CD4 cells. Your boy relies on T-cells and CD4 cells to fight
infections and other diseases, with HIV the cells get invaded, copying those cells destroying
them (AIDS, 2012).


A common mistake people make is thinking that someone with HIV has AIDS or that those with
HIV will develop AIDS, is untrue (Nichols, Tchounwou, & Nena, Sarpong, 2009). Over time,
the HIV virus can destroy too many of your CD4 cells that your body becomes unable to fight
off infections or diseases, and the HIV progresses to AIDS, which is the end stage of HIV
infection (Nichols et al., 2009). Although not everyone with HIV will progress to AIDS. If
proper antiretroviral therapy (ART), you can keep your HIV levels low and live a fairly normal
life (Tran, 2014).
Data and Interventions for Controlling HIV/AIDS
HIV infection is now found to be spreading globally with more than 40 million living
with HIV/AIDS globally, and no known cure as of today (AIDS, 2012). More than 25 million
deaths from AIDS and HIV since the first case reported in 1981, and 2.7 million were newly
infected (AIDS, 2012). According to the CDC more than 1.1 million people in the United States
are currently HIV infected, and close to 1 in 6 are not aware they are infected (AIDS, 2012). In
2011, nearly 50,000 in the US alone were diagnosed with HIV (AIDS, 2012).
The transmission of HIV/AIDS is from person-to-person contact mainly during sexual
intercourse, through the exchange of bodily fluids, including semen, saliva, blood, vaginal fluids,
and breast milk (PubMed, 2014). The virus can also be spread through sharing needles/syringes
of infected people, during breast feeding, and in vaginal births, and less common now through
infected blood transfusions (AIDS, 2012). The most profoundly affected group impacted by HIV
remains the gay, bisexual, and men having sex with men (MSM). A surprising statistic was
found to be the MSM group are accounting for the highest number of new infections in the US,

in 2010, MSM accounted for 78% of new HIV infections of males, and 63% of all new
infections (AIDS, p. 2, 2012).
Interventions in controlling the spread and infection of those with HIV is key in those
developing AIDS, in many communities having public needle exchange programs, condom
promotions community-wide, and the teaching of responsible choices is key in helping to
manage this disease (CDC, 2014). An important part of those at risk or infected is the acceptance
of the community and the health care industry itself in treating and acknowledging that
HIV/AIDS is a disease and is not one to discriminate. Having clinics and patient access to obtain
the needed medications, health care and counseling in managing the disease is vital in helping
those manage this disease and be responsible in preventing the spread of it to other partners or
members of the community.
Community Involvement
There are programs available to communities to help those infected with the HIV/AIDS
virus. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program helps provide HIV-Related healthcare and services
to those who do not have sufficient medical coverage and lack the financial resources to pay for
the HIV care they need (AIDS, 2012). Another resource is the Safe Community Needle Disposal
Program implemented by the CDC for communities to make this community program to help
reduce the infection rates. There are federal programs for those in need of housing through the
Housing for Persons with HIV/AIDS program through grants by the federal government. These
programs are important as many with this disease face discrimination, and many times are denied
renting places because of their health conditions (AIDS, 2012).
Environmental factors, Lifestyle Impact, and Socioeconomic Status

The choices one makes in how they live their lives have a major impact on the risk of
becoming infected with the HIV virus. Current research shows that various individual,
interpersonal, social, and environmental factors can influence the risk of HIV infection.
Individual factors influencing risk are age, self-esteem, age sexual activity began, sexual identity,
and substance abuse (NIH, 2014). Social factors and environmental factors can impact a person's
risk, including a persons cultural and religious views. Thoughts on a person's sexual behavior
and their sexuality, culturally accepted gender normals of specific populations, including
homosexual men, drug addicts, commercial sex workers, and high risk youths impact it also
(NIH, 2014).
Studies show targeted communities and populations can reduce the risk of HIV through
interventions that make risk reduction counseling available, urge cognitive approaches to
changing behaviors, solving problems, and helping reduce the risk of HIV by teaching those
individuals the skills they need. Voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) was found to be
effective in reducing high risk behaviors, importantly in the current HIV-infected persons and
involved in extramarital relationships (NIH, 2014).
Community Programs
The public health mission is working with federal, state, and local and communities to
improve the impact of those with HIV/AIDS and in preventing the epidemic from escalating.
With the federal programs and grants available, the public is addressing the health issues of those
with this infection and the need to address their issues that they ignored. With the
implementation of public health programs through funding programs, some changes are
underway but have a long way to go still. The gaps involved in the dealing and acceptance of this

disease is one that I feel will always be around, and that is the discrimination of those with
HIV/AIDS. While there are programs to help prevent the spread and treatment of this disease,
the change from those in the community is going to be a gradual change.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic that is a global issue is one that used to be an immediate death
sentence. Practicing safe sex, being responsible and getting tested especially for those living a
high risk lifestyle are ways to reduce your risks of becoming infected. With the new
combinations of ART- Antiretroviral therapies, also known as HAART- Highly Active
Antiretroviral therapy medications, treatments, and early diagnosis, those with this disease can
now live a long productive life (AIDS, 2012). In monitoring the CD4/ T-cell levels, and taking
their medications and following a healthy lifestyle the quality and length of those with HIV can
be a very full long life.


AIDS (2012). Retrieved from
CDC. (2014). Retrieved from
Nichols, L., Tchounwou, P.B., & Nena, L., Sarpong, D., (2009, July). The Effects of
Environmental Factors on Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. International journal of
Environmental research and public health, 6(7), 2041-2054. doi:10.3390/1jerph6072041
NIH. (2014). Retrieved from
PubMed Health. (2013). Retrieved from
Tran, M. (2014). Emedicinehealth. Retrieved from