Red. Coloring the AIDS Free Generation
Red. Time to Fight for a Generation Free From AIDS
Are you familiar with the meaning behind a red ribbon? When you wear one, it is showing your support in the fight against AIDS. Over 34 million people worldwide are facing a daily struggle against HIV. Each year 1.8 million will lose their lives to the disease and 2.7 million more will become infected. Show your support in the red movement by first learning about the what, where, and why of an HIV infection. Stop the myths which promote so much prejudice against those with the disease, learn to protect yourself, and you can do it all by reading through this squidoo. Then tell me if you are ready to support the fight for a generation free from AIDS.
The AIDS/HIV Debate
Do you know someone suffering from HIV or AIDS?
Yes. I do.
Quick Over view of Your Immune System - *Important* to understanding AIDS
Your body's immune system is like an army of defense under a constant invading siege. Parasites, viruses, microbes, and more are trying to do their best to slip past and make the body sick. Typically, the immune system is able to distinguish between "self" (your body's army) and "nonself" (the invaders). As you go about your daily life, the army is uses a range of techniques to keep the invaders from causing you harm.
Inside the immune system are several critical organs which may a major role in keeping you healthy. One of the most important are your lymph nodes. Lymph nodes store and create cells used to fight or snag suspicious cells. Many times the lymph nodes start your immune reaction which you may have experienced during an infection when they grow tender or swollen.
The thymus is the organ where t-cells (cells which help alert the body or destroy invaders) mature. Your spleen takes out damaged or old red blood cells ,controls the amount of blood in your body, and stores your white blood cell fighters. Bone marrow, the yellow stuff in the middle of your bones, makes white blood cells which become immune cells known as lymphocytes.
Immune System's Response to Invaders
Foreign invaders, known as antigens, are discovered by the immune system and sent along the lymph system. Inside a lymph node (you know what those are) a special white blood cell, known as a macrophage, "eats" the virus. The ingested virus is displayed on the outside of the macrophage.
The alarming appearance of the antigen is noted by a helper T-cell. Helper T-cells 'read' the antigen and then send off messages to warn the immune system of the latest invader. Your B-cells snap to attention and carefully 'read' the displayed antigen.
After taking in the information they begin producing antibodies specifically for the attacking antigen. They send out their antibodies to latch onto the virus particles. Once attached, they send out signals for the macrophages and other cells to 'eat' and destroy the virus which has dared to enter their territory.
Books to Learn More About Immunology - My Favorite of All Biology Fields
I have a passion for immunology and find the body's defense system downright fascinating. Studying the mysteries of immunology has become ironic as I am now my own immunological mystery. Learn more about what makes the immune system such an important and wonderful part of the human body.
Janeway's Immunobiology Textbook
This is actually the textbook from my college immunology class. I loved the books so much I still have it! If you have some knowledge in biology, are braving something new, or cannot get enough immunology..then give it a try. I must warn you the book is not written for someone with zero knowledge of the field.
AIDS versus HIV - A Life and Death Difference
Many people use HIV and AIDS interchangeably when talking about the disease. They do not understand the huge difference which exists between the two. With proper treatment, HIV can be managed and is no longer an instant death sentence. For example, look at Magic Johnson. He has been living with HIV for over twenty-one years without progressing into the AIDS stage.
When HIV enters the body, it makes a home within the helper T-cells. Remember? Those are the ones which send out messages throughout the body about foreign invaders. The body gives a valiant fight but eventually can no longer keep up with destroying and replacing infected helper t-cells. Eventually, the body's helper t-cells begin to seriously decline and at a certain point the patient is now labeled with having AIDS.
Books on Information Regarding HIV and AIDS - HIV Does Not Equal Aids
If you want to know more about AIDS and HIV then consider purchasing one of these options through Amazon.
The Truth on AIDS - Your immune system is destroyed
As the picture states, when your helper T-cells fall below a number of 200, you are clinically considered to have progressed from HIV to AIDS. Without helper T-cells, your body can no longer send out messages telling the immune system to fight off invaders. No immune system means you are completely open to any and every infection out there.
People with AIDS may develop neurological diseases meaning mood swings, memory loss, or nerve issues. Many pictures of AIDS patients show them to have wasting syndrome. A condition where the body loses much of its muscle mass and fluid from chronic diarrhea. One of the most well-known signs of AIDS progression is the body falling prey to opportunistic illnesses. Unusual cancers like Kaposi's sarcoma appear so do pneumonia, tuberculosis, and so many more. In the end, AIDS does not directly kill the person. The loss of their immune system from AIDS leaves them open to dying from a simple cold.
Red Ribbon Jewelry - Add the red ribbon to your jewelry collection
You can wear support your support for the fight against AIDS with jewelry showcasing the Red Ribbon.
Treating HIV with Medication - Money & A Cocktail Mix of Drugs
For those who are able to receive treatment for HIV, they will take a 'cocktail' of medications. The most well-known within the cocktail is azidothymidine (AZT) which inhibits the HIV DNA synthesis (creation of new viral DNA). Other anti-HIV drugs are dideoxyinosine (ddI), dideoxcytidine (ddC) and lamivudine (3TC). The other major group of anti-HIV drugs are protease inhibitors which include saquinavir (Invirase), indinavir (Crixivan), and ritonavir (Norvir). To create the right cocktail, doctors use AZT, 3TC, and protease inhibitors to make highly reactive antiretroviral therapy (HAART) more commonly known as the 'cocktail' mix.
I once saw a show (famous for parodies) which declared the true cure for HIV is not medication but money. I would love to say it is not true but in so many ways they are correct. Treatment IS very expensive which means those with little to no money for the medication have poor hope for keeping the virus from progressing to the AIDS stage. "Only 47% of people who need antiretroviral drugs across low- and middle-income countries are receiving them" (http://www.avert.org/aids-hiv-epidemic.htm). Without these drugs, the HIV virus will run unchecked within the body eventually leading to AIDS and then death.
Picture from: http://www.animalresearch.info/en/medical-advances...
Stories From Those With HIV
People who suffer from HIV fight a daily internal battle against the virus. Their stories are amazing and so is their passion to keep on living. Read more about them through these Amazon suggestions.
Myths of HIV & AIDS - Ignorance Hindering Compassion
in my lenses I often say "knowledge is power." I truly believe this to be true and it makes me sad to think of the many myths which people believe about HIV/AIDS. Hopefully this section can help ease the fears of those who are sadly misinformed.
1) If I shake hands with an HIV infected person, I can risk getting the disease.
*No, no, and no. You will not get HIV by shaking hands.
2) I got sneezed on by a person with HIV which means I'm at risk for being infected.
*No, you cannot get HIV from a person sneezing on you.
3) If I swim in a pool with a person who has HIV then I could get it.
*No, you are not going to get HIV by swimming in a pool with a person who has it.
4) Only homosexuals are at risk for HIV.
*Definitely not true. Regardless of sexual orientation, high-risk sexual activity still puts you at risk.
5) There is a high-risk of getting HIV through a blood transfusion.
*Before the days of proper blood screening people were definitely at risk for receiving hepatitis or HIV through a blood transfusion. Thankfully modern medicine carefully screens blood for such diseases BEFORE giving a transfusion. Your risk of getting HIV by a modern blood transfusion is extremely low.
6) People with HIV deserve it for leading such an immoral or sinful lifestyle.
*Definitely not. What about babies who received the virus through their mother? Or those forced into a marriage where the spouse knowingly has HIV? To ever say something so narrow-minded is downright sinful itself. Regardless of how you may feel about a person's lifestyle no one deserves to have HIV.
7) HIV is a myth created just to scare us.
*If this is your view then visit www.pubmed.com and type in HIV or AIDS. Look at the research being done worldwide on the subject and read for yourself about the disease. Back up your belief with facts before making a statement like this.
Show off the Red Ribbon Products
Join the red movement by purchasing red ribbon items which show your support in the fight against AIDS.
HIV Prevention & Stopping the Epidemic
The HIV virus can be transmitted by:
1. Sexual intercourse (including oral sex) transmission
2. Blood transmission
3. Mother to child transmission
Now that you know the ways it can be transmitted here are some steps to prevent contracting HIV:
1) Use condoms to reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission, do not engage in high-risk sex (e.g. unprotected sex with a bunch of totally unknown partners), ask about sexual history, remember just because a person is taking the HIV 'cocktail' it does not mean they still do not run the risk of transmitting the virus
2) Do not share needles, wear protective gear (e.g. gloves, glasses) when the chance arises you may come into contact with infected blood, if you have HIV then notify the doctor/staff right away so they can make sure to take extra precautions.
3) Never missing a day of the 'cocktail' medication mix has shown it to decrease the viral load and with it the odds of passing HIV onto an unborn child.
Home Detection Tests for the HIV Virus
Recently there have been several approved at-home-tests for the HIV virus. I do not know how correct they are but I will give you some options. My advice? Visit your doctor and get tested if you believe you are or may have been infected.
Show Your Support
December 1st is World AIDS Day.
PEP to Prevent HIV
Post-exposure prophylaxis is a newly developed treatment focused on preventing a person from becoming HIV infected. People who may have been exposed to the virus, like through sexual assault or work injury, are given the treatment. The purpose of PEP is give the immune system a chance to form protection against HIV and stop it from taking root within the body.
The results suggest PEP may be able to reduce the risk of being infected by HIV. Since it is not a 100% fix, it is recommended as a last option. Even if PEP is prescribed its success rate is also dependent upon several factors. First, it must be taken ASAP and has only a 72 hour window after exposure has taken place. Second, the infected person might be carrying an HIV virus resistant to most drugs which makes PEP useless. Third, a person must stick exactly to the treatment schedule prescribed by their doctor. The whole 28 day course of treatment must be completed and done properly.
Join Red in the Movement Against AIDS
- Join Red
Red is for a valiant fight to move towards an AIDS free generation. Take a look at the progress and ways to contribute through this link. Together we can make this the final generation where AIDS is responsible for the death of hundreds.
- Official information on AIDS
Learn more about the body's reaction against the HIV virus and when it changes to AIDS.