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Finding a Cure for AIDS

Experiencing the feeling of being under the weather is not the greatest sensation in the world, but taking a simple medicine like Tylenol may help or reduce a minor sickness. Tylenol seems like an easy fix when one is sick; however, a pill or two is not the cure, or even close to the fix, needed to alleviate one of the most devastating diseases facing our world. The epidemic called acquired immune deficiency syndrome, better known as AIDS, is facing millions of people worldwide, and a treatment has not been produced to cure this sickness. This overwhelming virus is the result of an infection named HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus. AIDS claims approximately one third of Africa’s population, and the high cost of AIDS drugs only creates for a larger problem.

AIDS first made its debut in 1959 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it arrived in 1981 in the United States, where it was viewed as a gay or homosexual disease. The HIV virus’s mutation rate affected the development of a vaccine, and in 1995 a cocktail (a combination of antiretroviral drugs and a protease inhibitor) was made available. According to the U.S. Bureau, as of April 3, 2009, the world population was at 6,770,946,993 people. An estimated number of 33 million represents the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in 2007, since the year of 1981, roughly 25 million have died from the virus. This information shows that the AIDS virus is an epidemic, and it is reaching enormous numbers. The HIV/AIDS virus does not discriminate against any age, gender, race, religion, or sexual preference. Even young, innocent children and babies are infected each year with the virus and the numbers are not reducing. In an article titled Providing AIDS drug treatment for millions, author Rob Noble tells that for a long time, the main focus on Africa consisted of providing the continent (and its villages) with a steady supply of food and water. This information demonstrates that disease was not a top concern to those helping low-income countries until recently. Due to Africa’s lack of a well-organized infrastructure of medical buildings, hospitals, and roads, the fight against AIDS and other diseases increases. Africa’s villages lack clean water, roads, clinics, and electricity, which places a major strain on the assistance needed to help those infected with the AIDS virus. Although the HIV virus has much responsibility for the AIDS epidemic, poverty also plays a chief role in Africa’s rising statistics. This information shows that improving Africa’s poor conditions could be the support needed to lower the people being infected with the atrocious disease.

A possible solution for AIDS drugs is generics, which are low-cost, but effective, copies of original medicines. However, many companies are producing patents to prevent generics from being manufactured. Noble explains that the drug being produced to treat those infected with HIV in low- and middle-income countries is known as d4t, and it is still being tested and rejected due to its side effects. Another example of an antiretroviral drug is zidorudine (AZT). The AIDS drugs is interpreted as those that can help prevent HIV from developing into overpowering AIDS and possibly revive those who are despairingly ill. This declaration shows that there is hope in the drugs developing and with more progress they could be the answer to solve the AIDS problem. Many risks face the drug treatment meant to aid those in need such as monopolies between companies and the chance that a second wave of resistant virus spreading worldwide. An example of this chance is the disease of tuberculosis (TB) and the way its medications had been prescribed incorrectly, out of date, and falsely. An alternative to purchasing such high priced drugs is that these countries should simply create their own. On the other hand, many companies feel that other countries will embezzle the drug formulas and use them to harvest cheaper remedies. By purchasing these antiretroviral drugs is not the only cost facing people involved in the cure for AIDS; other costs such as salaries, supplies, and providing treatment factor into the AIDS drug equation. People supporting treatment do not want to cut corners on the project, and the cost in providing the proper treatment centers includes consulting rooms, storage, and equipment need to test for pregnancy, blood cell counts, and anemia.

The prevention of AIDS is a huge concern to decreasing the rate of people being infected each year worldwide. The first step in the prevention and awareness of AIDS is developing testing centers where people are able to get tested and learn their options. Many people who are infected with the virus can sustain a long, healthy life if provided with a healthy diet. Teaching safer sex or abstinence in schools, churches, and businesses in all countries is a vast step in the right direction in the prevention of the disease. Educating both minds young and old can reduce future numbers significantly. Currently, there is no cure for AIDS; however, there are ways to stop its rapid spread. Public health advertisements, messages, and regularly condom usage are temporary compromises to halting the spread of AIDS.

In an article titled AIDS Drugs for Developing Countries, the author, Stupart, asks the true question, Is it fair to let third world countries get a large discount on AIDS drugs while first world countries pay the full price? This discount seems income bases and fair to those who do not have the access or money to such treatments. It is natural for competition to arise among companies when inventing new products; on the other hand, medicines and cures are always on high demand. Top pharmaceutical companies need to join and compromise on a sufficient treatment to be given to those with the HIV virus. Once a country has completed this, they should then unite with the third world countries to negotiate on prices and allocation of their products. Time cannot be wasted when dealing with such a critical matter such as AIDS. These drug companies all have a common goal of making money and advancing in the pharmaceutical world, but every individual and company should have the motive to help that many people in need. If Africa has the technology, infrastructure, and money to relieve people living with AIDS, then the AIDS epidemic would not be a concern to its villages. Africa is calling for helping, and they need support in conquering such a battle. These drug companies will achieve their financial goals-and much more-but most of all, they have an amazing ability to help save millions of lives.