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Imani Belgrave

English 112
9 October 2014
Surviving and Living
In the early 1980s, an epidemic of HIV began to surface. By the late 1980s more than
117,000 cases of aids were reported (Amfar). Many individuals of that time were unaware of the
serious illness. HIV is an immunodeficiency disorder that weakens your immune system. This
disease disables the bodys ability to protect itself from infections, bacteria, and other diseases
(Aids.gov). During this time, people were diagnosed with the illness due to sexual contact,
contaminated needles, and pregnancy or childbirth, and blood transfusions administered to help
victims stay alive. Since then, there have been new medicines, contraceptives, and testing to
prevent the disease from spreading.
As an unsolved issue, there is currently no cure for the HIV virus. There are highly
effective treatments available for victims to live a healthy lifestyle, while dealing with the
disease. The most effective treatment for the illness is medication. In 1987, a drug called AZT
became the first approved treatment for the HIV virus. Since then about thirty drugs have been
approved to treat people living with aids (Aids.gov). The medications used today for HIV
treatments are known as Antiretroviral or Inhibitors. There are five classes of HIV medications.
Generally, individuals take three different antiretroviral drugs from two different classes. By
taking this amount at once insures protection for your immune system.
For further prevention and protection, individuals need to be aware of contraceptives,
testing, and sexual risk factors. Contraceptives such as condoms or hormonal injections are one

of many ways to prevent the virus. HIV testing is another important aspect of prevention. Being
aware of your HIV status is important for your health and others. Testing for HIV is usually
performed by drawing blood, using saliva, or home testing. Testing should also be performed at
least once or twice a year if at risk. If contraception has not been used, being aware of the sexual
risk factors can help to understand the seriousness of the virus. Sexual risk factors may be
infecting others, not getting tested, and being uneducated about the illness (Aids Treatment).
Some symptoms of the illness include fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, weight loss,
cough, and shortness of breath (Mayo Clinic). If you are or have been infected with the virus,
then contact your local healthcare provider for immediate treatment. If infected and no treatment
is received the illness will progress to aids. This will make your immune system weak and less
capable to fight off colds and diseases.
Most recently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2
million Americans have HIV, and twenty percent of them are undiagnosed. Approximately
50,000 people become infected each year, and more than 18,000 die annually. Another statistic
shows more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with the HIV infection (aids.org).
According to research and estimates by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2
million Americans have HIV, and twenty percent of them are undiagnosed. Approximately
50,000 people become infected each year, and more than 18,000 die annually (live science).
Although statistics of individuals infected with the virus is scarcely high, there are many
victims who live a normal lifestyle while taking medications for the illness. One very popular
example of a person living a healthy lifestyle with the virus is former NBA basketball player
Earvin Magic Johnson. On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced to the world he

contracted the HIV virus that causes aids. Now, more than twenty years later Magic is living and
working as a businessman, sports analyst and HIV activist (Hadhazy).

Twenty-two years ago, there was only one drug available. Fast forward to today,
Now, there are more than 30 drugs, and theyre really great drugs too. And thats
The reason for the hope: Doctors and health care providers are so much better and
Knowledgeable today than they were in the past. (Chan)

Earvin Magic Johnson

To better help the audience understand the seriousness of the issue. I proposed a video of
Magic Johnson speaking on the issues of HIV for my visual. He talks about how there is no cure
for HIV and how taking medication is what is keeping him alive. Magic also explains how today
doctors have more methods for HIV victims to survive than they did twenty years age. In order
to keep individuals from contracting the virus, our society needs to be aware of the treatment,
protection, and testing for HIV.

Works Cited
AIDS.gov. Welcome to AIDS.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
N.p, n.d. Web. 07 Oct 2014.
AIDS Treatment. AIDS Treatment. The Regents of the University of California, n.d.
Web. 09 Oct. 2014.
Amfar. Home. The Foundation for AIDS Research. HIV/AIDS Research.. N.p., n.d.
Web. 09 Oct 2014
Chan, Amanda L. Magic Johnson On What Has Changed In HIV/AIDS Over The Last
20 Years. The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 01 Dec. 2013. Web. 09 Oct. 2014
Hadhazy, Adam. How Has Magic Johnson Survived 20 Years with HIV? LiveScience.
TechMedia Network, 07 Nov. 2011. Web. 09 Oct. 2014.
Mayo Clinic Staff. HIV/AIDS. Symptoms. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education
and Research, 20 May 2014. Web. 09 Oct. 2014.
Moughty, Sarah. 20 Years after HIV Announcement, Magic Johnson Emphasizes: I
Am Not Cured PBS. PBS. 07 Nov. 2011. Web. 09 Oct. 2014.