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So Common, It’s Normal
"The subject no longer has to be mentioned by name. Someone is sick. Someone else is feeling better now. A friend has just gone back into the hospital. Another has died. The unspoken name, of course, is AIDS." ~David W. Dunlap
What is AIDS though? AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by the HIV [human immunodeficiency virus]. Do you know how many people HIV/AIDS killed in 2002? 3.2 million. Out of those 3.2 million people it killed, 610,000 were children under the age of 15! That's approximately 11,500 more people than the population of the city of Vancouver. The Black Death on the other hand, killed many people as well, but only in a small part of the world, mainly in Europe around Italy. Although the Black Death killed 25 million people in four years, 42 million are living with HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS is always fatal, though it may take longer for the person to die. HIV/AIDS doesn't just affect them physically; but there are consequences socially, emotionally, as well as economically, and the worst thing is: there is no cure for HIV/AIDS right now! This essay will prove that HIV/AIDS is a worse than the Black Death.
When someone is infected with AIDS they can suffer a range of discomforts and illnesses. The symptoms can be mild, such as a loss of weight and energy, or very severe, such as failure of various body systems and/or different types of cancers. HIV destroys the immune system and as a result even the mildest cough can cause someone infected with HIV to be extremely ill. Since the immune system is very weak now, AIDS can enter the body without the white blood cells in the way. If someone is sick they need to eat at least a little even if they don't want to because they need to keep their strength up to fight the disease, but HIV/AIDS can cause the person to have difficulties and pain when swallowing. Although the Black Death seems worse because the person infected dies within a week, in HIV/AIDS, the person suffers for a longer period of time. Symptoms of the Black Death include swelling of the lymph organs, similar to those of HIV/AIDS, and purplish black bumps called buboes on the arms, legs, armpits, and groin area. Some people can carry HIV for years before the symptoms start to appear, and in that time could pass the virus onto others without knowing, unlike the Black Death, which people can plainly see that you have because the symptoms appear very soon after you are infected and it makes it easier for others to stay away from the infected person.
There are also many negative effects that HIV/AIDS has on society, such as too little manpower in areas where agriculture and farming is very important for survival and the crops are left unattended, the same happened with the Black Death, but that was only in Europe, not all over the world. In some countries, there are not many job opportunities for women and as a result they turn to prostitution. Having to sell your body wrong and nobody should have to do that to earn money. In brothels or areas where prostitution is very common, diseases such as HIV/AIDS are easily passed on from one person to another. In some cultures, especially in East Africa, certain religious groups are opposed to sex education and because the people there are either undereducated or have no education whatsoever about STDs, contraception, etc, they can very easily be infected with STDs or have unwanted babies. Nobody back then knew about the Black Death, so they couldn’t educate the general public, but people know about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it – they just don’t spread the word, and that is unfair to the millions of people that have contracted it. People that have HIV/AIDS are often stigmatized in a way that makes them feel very uncomfortable with themselves and is often totally unnecessary. Many people have the notion that you can become infected with HIV/AIDS if you touch the person infected. NO. You cannot contract the disease by simply touching them. The virus has to be spread through sexual contact, blood-to-blood [such as blood transfusions] contact or some other bodily fluid. Although the Black Death was more easily transmitted from person to person, the plague could be destroyed by heat, which was one of the only methods that people tried, which was actually useful.
Another one of the big problems related to HIV/AIDS is that some governments don’t make enough effort to provide health care for everyone and HIV/AIDS also affects the economy. The drugs that prolong and help keep the symptoms milder are very expensive and not always available to those who need it. Did you know that in some poorer countries, as little as $3 US per person per year is spent by governments on health and social services? That’s an extremely, extremely small amount to spend on one person in one year. Imagine this happening in Canada – we wouldn’t be able to go to the doctor for annual checkups, to the dentist so they could get rid of your cavities, to the orthodontist to help that persistent overbite, or any other type of health care! HIV/AIDS also is bad in areas with smaller population because they need everyone to be doing their part and providing for the community, but with HIV/AIDS killing so many people, the communities suffer from the lack people working. In the case of the Black Death, the economy underwent drastic ups and downs due to the many deaths that occurred and there were not enough farmers to work the fields, but the population quickly replenished instinctively and in several years, the population of Europe was almost back to the original number before the plague.
So you cannot contract HIV/AIDS by simply talking to the infected person or shaking hands with them, whereas you could contract the plague by touching the infected person – but the plague could be destroyed by heat [namely fire], but not many people knew that back then. In comparison with the Black Death, the physical symptoms of HIV/AIDS are a lot worse as you can develop different types of cancers. Although infected people don’t die within a week, it just means more time to suffer. The stigmatism that HIV/AIDS patients face is so unnecessary and unfair to them – people on the street will ignore them, or rudely not take their hand to shake just because they have HIV/AIDS. Communities are suffering from the lack of people able to work because of this deadly illness, and yet there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS. So the plague could be destroyed. Why do we not have a cure for HIV/AIDS yet? HIV/AIDS has been around for decades and still, we don’t have a cure. Why?