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It is sometimes difficult to recall how it all started, how we arrived at this stage of our journey through a global disaster, engaging one of the most serious threat to public health in our lifetime. The story began a long time ago. AIDS was to enter the world’s consciousness and became part of the vocabulary of the human soul as a result of a dawning awareness of the advent of a new and strange disease first reported in California, in 1981. In July 1981, the New York Times reported an outbreak of a rare form of cancer among gay men in New York and California, first referred to as the “gay cancer”; but medically know as Kaposi Sarcoma. About the same time, emergency rooms in New York City began to see a rash of seemingly healthy young men presenting with fevers, flu like symptoms, and a pneumonia called Pneumocystis. About a year later, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) link the illness to blood and coins the term AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In that first year over 1600 cases were diagnosed with close to 700 deaths (CDC, 1981). Probably, no one actually expected the magnitude of the epidemic that was in the making. However, evidence of a gathering storm was soon arriving. The presence of related retroviruses in African monkeys and apes and the close relationship of HIV to a Chimpanzee Immunodeficiency virus all suggest that Central Africa may have been the site of evolution of HIV. Some people think that there are other possible origins of HIV. One of these is the suggestion that HIV was a deliberate or accidental product of biological warfare research. That is not possible, since the technology and the basic knowledge that would have been necessary to create such a virus had not been developed in 1975, when the epidemic began to grow.HIV/AIDS

HIV is a virus. Viruses infect the cells of living organisms and replicate (make new copies of themselves) within those cells. A virus can also damage human cells, which is one of the things that can make an infected creature become ill. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. People can become infected with HIV from other people who already have it, and when they are infected they can then go on to infect other people. Basically, this is how HIV is spread. HIV stands for the ‘Human Immunodeficiency Virus’. Someone who is diagnosed as infected with HIV is said to be ‘HIV+’ or ‘HIV positive’.HIV/AIDS

The full name of AIDS is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. As the name implies, it is a disease caused by a deficiency in the body’s immune system. It is a syndrome because there are a range of different symptoms which are not always found in each case. It is acquired because AIDS is an infectious disease caused by a virus which is spread from person to person through a variety of routes. This makes it different from immune deficiency from other causes such as treatment with anti-cancer drugs or immune system suppressing drugs given to persons receiving transplant (Hubley, 1995).

A damaged immune system is not only more vulnerable to HIV, but also to the attacks of other infections. It will not always have the strength to fight off things that would not have bothered it before. As time goes by, a person who has been infected with HIV is likely to become ill more and more often until, usually several years after infection, they become ill with one of a number of particularly severe illnesses. It is at this point that they are said to have AIDS – when they first become seriously ill, or when the number of immune system cells left in their body drops below a particular point. Different countries have slightly different ways of defining the point at which a person is said to have AIDS rather than HIV. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is an extremely serious condition, and at this stage the body has very little defense against any sort of infection.HIV/AIDS


No one knows exactly where the AIDS virus came from but many scientists like Jasmine (2000:14) think it originated in Africa.  According to Jasmine (2000:14) theory, sometime in the past, one of the monkey viruses undergo a change mutation that enabled it to survive in the human body. This mutation was passed on to the virus’s “offspring” and eventually some of the mutated viruses found their way into the human body, perhaps, as a result of a person being bitten or by eating a monkey (monkey brains are popularly found in Africa). Once inside the human body the virus may have mutated further until it become the virus known today as the AIDS Virus. Regardless of exactly where it started, AIDS is now a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the world population today, as the case maybe, taking a case study of those admitted in Comprehensive Health Centers Gbor-Yowgon Kasina-Ala Local Government, Benue State from 2001-2010.HIV/AIDS
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