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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the number of AIDS-related deaths in the US decreased for the first time in 1996. A total of 573,000 AIDS cases was reported from 1981 through 1996, including 68, 473 in 1996,” (Trends, 1997: 165). In tandem with the AIDS virus is HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which the person who develops AIDS first becomes infected with. The mode of transmission for AIDS is through the exchange of bodily fluids (blood and semen). The most at-risk groups for contracting HIV are heterosexuals and homosexuals who practice unsafe sex with numerous partners, and intravenous drug users who share needles. To date there have only been 102 documented cases of HIV being contracted through occupational exposure (Folks and Butera, 1996: 4).

AIDS is a disease that develops in the usual pathway: “A person infected with HIV gradually loses immune function along with certain immune cells, called CD4 T-lymphocytes or CD4 T-cells, causing the infected person to become vulnerable to pneumonia, fungus infections, and other common ailments. With the loss of immune function, a clinical syndrome (a group of various illnesses that together characterize a disease) develops over time and eventually results in death due to opportunistic infections or cancers,” (Folks,, 1996: 1). The normal manner of becoming infected is through sexual activity with an infected partner. The sexual fluids of those infected are transferred into the bloodstream of a partner through small abrasions which may be the result of mouth sores or sexual intercourse. Blood exchange is another mode of infection, but careful screening of our nation’s blood supply in the face of the epidemic has drastically reduced the chance of blood transfusion transmission.

One of the most difficult challenges of HIV and AIDS is that people with HIV have been known to be infected with the virus for more than a decade ...

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AIDS. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:47, April 26, 2019, from