HIV is a virus that attacks the human immunity system gradually until it becomes as good as nothing. The abbreviation is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV makes the human’s body completely vulnerable, and even the simplest of infections can become deadly. In fact, HIV is the hostile virus’s name. As the disease progresses, it gradually develops into AIDS.
AIDS is short for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. As for 2017, 36.9 million people around the world are diagnosed with AIDS. Unfortunately, of these, 1.8 million are children.
We won’t delve much into the well-known facts about this disease. Rather, we’ll unveil some of the enthralling information about this virus’s history, past and present.
#1 – HIV/AIDS Virus Is Quite Stealthy – The Perfect Disguise
One of the most interesting things about HIV is that it has superior ability of ‘sneaking’ into the human body. Therefore, this is the main reason why it is so difficult to defeat. In fact, the virus hides so well that the immune system cannot recognize it as a hostile party. On the contrary, it can hide between sugar and carbohydrate molecules. Consequently, the body will see it as nothing, but a ‘nutrient.’
The good news are that scientists are now researching on this point. Probably in the future they are able to use this to their advantage. The virus veils itself with sugar molecules that are slightly different from the normal ones our body utilizes. Therefore, scientist could use this difference to create a vaccine in the future to protect our bodies from the virus.
#2-The Origins? Chimpanzees. Now? A Death Sentence
It is known that HIV comes in two strains, but the first one is the most fatal. HIV-1 as it is called, first originated from a small chimpanzee around 1931. Scientists agree that this date was the first humans knew of this disease. Surprisingly, when humanbeing has the first time discovered the disease, it wasn’t as fatal as it is considered to be now.
In fact, the virus was weak enough that the immune system could easily override it. However, as a consequence of mutations, re-combinations, and various developments the virus had undergone, it became more powerful. Moreover, it adapted cunning way of concealing itself as discussed above.
#3-It Is So Bad It is Used As A Weapon
It’s horrifying, but HIV is sometimes used as a biological weapon. Perhaps this is the best way of conveying how ugly and fatal HIV is. What’s worse than killing your enemy with a gun, a knife or even a bomb? Probably, to have them infected with a deadly disease that would exterminate them slowly and mercilessly? Unfortunately, this was very popular in ancient times. Back then, biological weapons were smallpox and plague. Today, HIV is the modern counterpart.
Nushawn Williams- HIV positive sex offender
Perhaps, the most sensational example of this is in New York, America. To be more precise, it’s the case of Nushawn Williams. He has been leading a life of crime since a very young age. Though, later he was convicted with sex offense crimes in Chautauqua County and New York City. After knowing that he was HIV-positive, Williams had sex with dozens of women to spread the virus. He stated no reasons. Although, he claimed that he thought health officials had ‘lied’ to him about his HIV infection.
As a result of his crimes, more than 14 women in Chautauqua County became HIV-positive. Besides, two of their children were born with the disease. Afterwards, Williams was in prison for about 12 years. Although, he should have been free by 2010, his stay was prolonged to ‘protect the society.’
However, Nushawn Williams wasn’t the only one who used HIV as a weapon. ‘Numbers Gang’ is one of the most fearsome gangs. It controls most of South Africa’s prisons. In fact, they have a strict set of rules to ‘punish’ whoever who goes against them. Harshest punishment? They rape the offender by an HIV-positive prisoner. In addition, they cut the offender’s anus to ensure the infection happens. It’s a death sentence all the same, but slower and harsher. They call this punishment the ‘slow puncture.’ You wouldn’t want to get on this gang’s bad side.
#4-Fun Fact? Meet A Super Villain with HIV Powers
If you are a fan of DC comics, you may have come across ‘The New Guardians’ comic released in 1988. A super villain whose name is ‘Hemo-Globin’ was an HIV-positive vampire. In fact, he sought infect minorities with the disease and spread it. Superhero Extrano is one of the unfortunate victims. Later, Hemo-globin dies shortly after while in police custody. A memorable character, isn’t he?
#5-Remember “Philadelphia?” It Was Actually A Real Story!
Many people know one of Tom Hanks’ most successful movies Philadelphia. But not all of them know that this movie was actually based on a real story. It was actually the story of Geoffrey Bowers. Imagine, you are a very successful lawyer. You earn a position at one of the largest firms in the world.
But unluckily, you start having strange lesions on your face and hands. The ones that were distinct to be of Kaposi’s sarcoma. In fact, it’s one of the late signs of AIDS. So your firm decides to fire you. However, you’re good at your job, your bosses praise your work all the time. But your only fault is that you are HIV-positive. Discrimination, isn’t it? To make it worse, they don’t even go through the typical termination process. They just dismiss you like that.
Geoffrey took it to the court and the trial started in July, 1987. Sadly, he died two months after the trial started. Unfortunately, his partner, Alex Londres, also died shortly after. The good news are that even though the case went on for six more years. Later, the court eventually fined the firm for $500,000. In addition, Bowers family was paid off by the firm.
HIV/AIDS is one of the ugliest diseases and one of the most dangerous biological weapons. We know now more about it than we have known in the past years. Besides, scientists are working hard to find a treatment and perhaps also a vaccine. However, people having this virus in their bodies are fighting for their life everyday.
You won’t become HIV positive if you’re talking, touching someone with this disease. It isn’t a crime to be HIV-positive. Therefore, there is no fair reason to discriminate anyone with the disease. Patients are suffering enough with the virus. They don’t need that we make things worse for them. We hope that this article has brought more clarity on this topic. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.