It is known that poor countries are more predisposed to different infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Haiti is one of those countries where the majority of the deaths are due to HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal illnesses and meningitis. According to the Pan American Health Organization, Haiti “has the highest infant, and maternal mortality, the worst malnutrition and the worst AIDS situation in Americas”(Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti).Â Although today the number of HIV-positive people in Haiti is much less than it was several years ago, the situation is still dangerous. That is why it is very important to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Haiti.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â PATHOPHYSIOLOGY AND ETIOLOGY OF THE DISEASE
HIV/AIDS stands for the human immunodeficiency virus, or the so-called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV is a severe virus that causes AIDS, which is considered to be incurable. According to Minnaar & Bodkin (2007), “the immune system ultimately becomes so weak that the body succumbs to pathogens that would not normally cause illness and the HIV-positive person develops recurrent infections” (p.23). When the immune system is so weak that the person cannot evade infections, this person has got AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The health care specialists call these infections “opportunistic infections” and they help to define AIDS. It is found that “HIV belongs to the Lentivirus group of the retrovirus family” (Minnaar & Bodkin 24). Today there are two type of HIV virus identified by the medical experts. They include HIV-1 and HIV-2. The first type of HIV virus is considered to be the most common cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and HIV-1 is responsible for the pandemic. However, the second type of HIV virus is confined to the territory of West Africa and some other countries. HIV-2 also causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, but it is known as a less severe infection (Minnaar & Bodkin 24).
It is found that HIV transmission is focused on the following aspects: unprotected sexual intercourse, HIV transmission from mother to her child during the period of pregnancy; transmission of HIV virus during the sharing of needles by drug users; in some cases, from the transfusions ofÂ HIV-infected blood; in rare cases, HIV transmission from mucosal blood splash and percutaneous needle stick injuries (Minnaar & Bodkin 24).
Besides, HIV/AIDS virus destroys CD4 T-lymphocytes which are the main components of the effective functioning of the immune system. The decrease of CD4 T-lymphocytes count weakens the immune system and causes a number of inflectional diseases (Hannon et al. 355).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It is found that the major signs and symptoms of HIV infection and AIDS in Haiti are different and depend on both the genetic background and age of the ill person. Besides, it is very important for a person to have an opportunity to use medical treatment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Â As a rule, HIV-positive persons have reduction in the responses of their immune system what leads to the increased vulnerability to any type of bacteria and viruses, fungi and parasites. Besides, it can result in different infections, such as fevers, sore throats, rashes, etc. ( Minnaar & Bodkin 31). Some of the common diseases in advanced AIDS patients include: pneumonia, meningitis, AIDS dementia complex which influences cognitive functions, toxoplasmosis encephalitis, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus infection, which results in the infection of herpes (Baveja & Rewari 68). The major symptoms of HIV/AIDS include headache, fatigue, swollen glands, loss in weight, fever, different yeast infections. Some other signs are insomnia, anxiety and dementia (AIDS Diagnosis). It is found that the above mentioned early-stage symptoms of HIV/AIDS can disappear in several weeks after the virus exposure. Â It is known that after the HIV infection, there may be no symptoms for a long period of time. Over this period, HIV infection can gradually kill the helper T-cells of the immune system. This causes the weakening of the immune system and leads to such diseases as cancer, depression, diarrhea, hepatitis, herpes, memory loss, pneumonia, etc. (Kane 30).