HIV/AIDS

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According to the CDC there were an estimated 56,300 individuals infected with HIV in 2006 and this number has not changed much since 2000. This topic has always been interesting to me and frightening at the same time. The subject is not as taboo as it once was because HIV and AIDS are becoming more common. Also, people living with HIV or AIDS are becoming more open and reaching out to their communities for support and working on educating others. About one fourth of the 1 million people in the United States that are living with HIV or AIDS are not aware they are infected with the virus according to the CDC. When I was reading the Diseases of Immunity chapter in Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, I learned that over 75% of HIV infections occur through sexual transmission. The virus can also be transmitted through parenteral inoculation and from mothers to their newborn children. Also, the majority of the people in the United States that are infected are men who have sex with men. Heterosexual transmission however, is the most common form of transmission from a world perspective. It is important to be aware of our patient’s diagnoses and how we can be affected by them. Casual contact can not transmit the virus, but we still need to be educated on the proper precautions we need to take when working with all patients. According to Salvo and Anderson there have been no reported cases of a massage therapist contracting HIV during a massage. The massage therapist also needs be sure to provide a sanitary environment for the HIV/AIDS patient because their immune systems are low. Also, the patient might not be aware of his/her own diagnoses so the proper methods to protect ourselves as well as our patients should always be taken.

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