I chose to watch the movie RENT because I wanted to educate myself more on how people live with HIV+/AIDS. I wanted to learn more about where these diseases came from, how long has it been around for, can you live a normal life, and how did people contract it? I was one of those ignorant people that thought you could catch the disease by touching their skin, or even being next to them. I was so ignorant I thought you could get AIDS by holding someone’s hand who had the virus. I also thought that only gay men contracted AIDS. People assume when you are HIV positive you have AIDS. That is false, being HIV positive means you have the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. AIDS means your immune system is so weak that it cannot fight certain infections off or cancers because you have HIV, AIDS is a condition. “While HIV is a virus that may cause an infection, AIDS (which is short for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a condition. Contracting HIV can lead to the development of AIDS. AIDS, or stage 3 HIV, develops when HIV has caused serious damage to the immune system.” (CDC/HIV basics)
HIV is a virus that spreads through certain body fluids that attack the body’s immune system, it specifically attacks the CD4 cells, often called the T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections or diseases. These special cells help the immune system fight off infections. If untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells in the body. This damage to the immune system makes it very hard for the body to fight off infections and some other serious diseases. Bigger infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS. Once you get HIV you can’t fully get rid of it. There isn’t a medicine out there that completely takes away HIV, once you have it you have it for life. “The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If ART is taken properly everyday it can prolong the life of someone with the illness, it keeps them healthy, and reduces the chance of them giving it to someone else. In the 1990’s someone who contracted HIV would develop AIDS within a few years and their lives were also cut short.” (CDC/ HIV Basics)
Living with HIV/AIDS doesn’t mean you are a walking plague, and it doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life. Someone with the diseases is allowed to have a life just as you and I would, there have been stories where people with HIV/AIDS have lived a long and happy life, they got married, and they had children. For example, I worked with this nice middle aged woman named Jill, she had a boyfriend, she had three children, a beautiful house, and she had her master’s degree. The only bad thing Jill had to complain about in life was the big mistakes she had made in the 70s/80s. Long before she had children Jill was a big heroin user, she started off sniffing lines of dope until the high wasn’t enough for her. One day, she decided she was going to try and shoot up with her friends, they gave her a needle that they had all used. She didn’t see this as a problem because, who cares when you’re high as a kite.
She kept using dirty needles and one day she contracted the HIV virus. She went to the doctors to be tested and she was positive for HIV. She has to take medication (HAART) for the rest of her life but, that didn’t stop her from having three beautiful children, a career, and a boyfriend. She has to be more careful than other people but she isn’t a walking disease. She made a few bad mistakes that she now has to pay for the rest of her life but, she has come to terms with that on her own. You can have a healthy lifestyle and healthy children, as of matter of fact one of her three beautiful healthy children is autistic but that has nothing to do with being HIV+.
There were rumors going around back in the day that HIV/AIDS were first contracted from gay people but that is a lie. Anyone can get HIV/AIDS you don’t have to be gay to get the virus. “Scientist say HIV/AIDS were first contracted from chimpanzees in Africa. The disease was called simian immunodeficiency or SIV, this was most likely transmitted from chimps to humans when humans hunted for chimpanzee meat and then came in contact with their blood. Over the decades, the virus slowly spread across Africa and later into other parts of the world.” (Sanfran AIDS assoc.)
When a woman with this diseases gets pregnant the chances of her baby also being born with the disease is rare but it is still possible. If a Doctor catches the disease early on in the pregnancy then the mother will start on the medication ART.” If the woman contracts the disease later on in her pregnancy then the infant born will have to take ART after birth, babies born to a mother with HIV are given ART right away for 4 to 6 weeks.” (SMAIF)
When you have this virus you need to be responsible and take care of yourself and others around you. You don’t have to walk around and say, “Hi I’m Jake, and I have AIDS” but, you do need to take the precautions with your partners that you are sexual with, and your job. My girlfriend worked with a young girl at Stop and Shop a few years ago and one day she came into work crying. My girlfriend asked her why she was crying and the girl told her the man she was sleeping with for the last year and a half had AIDS and he never told her. The only reason she found out was when she went to the doctor. This is the most selfish thing you could do to a person, she now has to live with this for the rest of her life. She left the man that lied to her for a year and she would tell my girlfriend that she can no longer live a normal life. When she meets someone she is attracted to she has to tell them that she has AIDS and they get grossed out and they walk away and never look back.
I have another very shocking and sad story about the time I was in high school and my gay best friend went to a grimy gay club one weekend with his cousins and friends, as they were dancing and having fun one of the girls felt a pinch on her back. She didn’t think much of it and continued to dance, later on that year my friend told me the shocking story of what happened at the club that night. The pinch the girl felt on her back that night was a needle in her back. Someone was going around the club and injecting infected blood into people’s backs. She also has to live with the struggle of having AIDS because some sicko thought it would be funny to ruin people’s lives.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below