There have been many theories as to the origin of HIV and they continue to be floated since there has been no concrete proof as to where and when it started. Oral Polio Vaccine Theory is one of the theories stating that HIV was transferred to people in Africa through the oral polio vaccine called Chat. This theory could however not be scientifically proven as the vaccine was grown from cells of the macaque monkeys which can not be infected with SIV or HIV.
It’s also argued the virus existed before the polio vaccine. (Jamie Robertson, 2008) The other common theory is the conspiracy theory terming HIV as a man made disease that was designed to wipe out large numbers of African Americans and Homosexuals by the US Federal Special Cancer Virus Program and was spread through the small pox and Hepatitis B vaccines. (Jamie Robertson, 2008)
The most common is the hunter theory which explains that the virus was transferred from chimps infected with the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) to humans either through ingestion of infected meat or getting infected blood of the chimps in their own systems According to the BBC health segment (2006), researchers traced the origin of HIV to wild chimpanzees living in the Southern Cameroon. The international team of scientists identified a natural reservoir of SIVcpz in animals living in the wild.
The scientists believe that because of the varying of the symptoms between individuals and the rareness of the cases explains why the virus was not named for another 50 years. How it spread According to the AVERT. org, there are a number of factors that may have contributed to the sudden spread of the virus: • Travel: Both national and international travel had a major role in the spread of the virus. In the US it’s attributed to the gay sexual revolution in the late 70s and early 80s.
In Africa it could have spread along the truck routes between the towns and cities within the continent. • Blood industry: AS it became a routine medical practice there was an increased demand for donors and in some countries they were paid to donate and since the blood was not screened then it may have resulted in the sudden spread. • Drug use: there was an increase in availability of heroin in the 1970s which stimulated the growth in intravenous drug use. The establishment of the shooting galleries where the drug users could buy and rent equipment may have contributed to the spread.
Steps to reduce the spread of HIV The HIV is only transmittable in ways that can get it into the bloodstream. There are three ways in which it can be transmitted (AIDS. ORG, 2007) • Unprotected sexual contact with an infected person • Direct blood contact including injections needles, blood transfusions, accidents in health care settings or other blood products. • Mother to baby before or during birth, or through breast milk The spread of the virus can therefore be achieved by avoiding the ways in which one gets infected.
The major way in which HIV has spread is through sexual activity. The best way to stop the spread is abstinence which is basically having no sex . The other way is to stay faithful to one partner of which both of you have to be negative. The third option which has been put forward is the use of barriers like condoms although this is not a 100% safe. HIV is also known to be spread through the sharing of needles especially with the drug abusers and in small percentage in health centers.
Needles should only be used by one person and if there is sharing, hygiene measures should be undertaken like use of bleach and subjecting the needles to high temperatures to kill the virus. In hospitals the needles should be discarded once used and should be responsibly done. The blood should be thoroughly screened for the virus so as not to transfuse already infected blood to a patient. The other method is the reduction of mother to child transmission before, during and after birth.
Pregnant women should be tested for the virus so as the health providers can intervene especially during the child birth process to prevent contact of the child with the mother’s blood and also advise the mother not to breastfeed the child. Incase a person has been exposed to the virus there are antiretroviral drugs called ”Post exposure prophylaxis” or PEP which may help reduce decrease the risk of infection but this has to be immediately after the exposure. This is mainly given to rape victims or people who handle people living with the virus.
Education is also a very important tool in the reduction of the spread as most people contract it due to ignorance or lack of knowledge. When people are well informed then they can make more informed choices towards reducing the spread and protecting themselves against exposure to the virus. The spread of HIV can not be curbed by one method but all the methods have to be employed by the different people to stop the spread. References AIDS. ORG (2007), Stopping the Spread of HIV, Viewed on 31, March 2009, < http://www. aids.
org/factSheets/150-Stopping-the-Spread-of-HIV. html> AVERT>org, (March 20, 2009), The origin of AIDS and HIV and the first cases of AIDS, Viewed on 31 March 2009, http://www. avert. org/origins. htm BBC News (2006), HIV origin ‘found in wild chimps’ Viewed on 31 March 2009, <http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/health/5012268. stm> Jamie Robertson (2008),Theories on the Origin of HIV, Three Explanations for the Emergence of the AIDS Epidemic, Viewed on 31 March 2009,< http://aidshiv. suite101. com/article. cfm/theories_on_the_origin_of_hiv>