Archive for the ‘HIV/AIDS’ Category


June 2, 2010

AIDS is an infectious viral disease that causes progressive impairment of the immune system. A person has AIDS when the immune system has weakened to the point at which he or she has had at least three opportunistic diseases or T-cell blood count below 200 cells/mcL. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. The average time from exposure to development of AIDS is just over 10 years. Several months ago I gave free chair massages at a local community college. One of the students that came in listed on his medical chart that he had Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). While I did not think twice about conducting the massage, I know that there are some people that still have problems giving massage to someone who has AIDS. This person was extremely appreciative of the massage and said it made him feel so much better. Because the chair massage was only 15 minutes, I did not have to worry as much about preventing fatigue. I did use lighter pressure than I normally would have used. Other than these two considerations, I gave the same massage that I would have to someone without the disease. One of the main reasons that I am getting my massage certification is so that I can do massages through an organization called Heart Touch. ( This organization was formed when in 1995, Shawnee Isaac Smith’s very good friend and fellow body worker, was dying of a terminal illness – AIDS. All of his friends refused to touch or even visit him. Shawnee began to provide him with weekly massage sessions. Just to be touched, he told her, made him feel human again. Most massage therapists were unwilling to touch people with AIDS for fear of contracting the virus. Shawnee, through massage, found a way to comfort her friend during the greatest struggle of his life. This organization now provides massage to a variety of people other than those with AIDS and I hope to go through the training program as soon as I finish massage school.


Immune System Pathology

October 26, 2009

Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists, by Salvo and Anderson.

I was glad to finally learn about what to do in the case I have a client with HIV or AIDS. I was a little afraid before reading this chapter seven, to be honest. Not knowing what to do if I got one of these clients. But now I feel content knowing that massage is still ok and very beneficial for the client.

Tags: , , ,

The Virus

August 3, 2009

One agent of disease that has always intrigued me is the virus. My interest in viruses initiated when Magic Johnson, my favorite player at the time, disclosed to the world that he had contracted HIV. As I began to research what a virus was, I was stunned to discover that is a nonliving entity. Essentially, they consist of a core of DNA or RNA, enclosed by a coat of protein, yet have no metabolic processes. They invade a cell by attaching to its plasma membrane, then subsequently inject their genetic material into the cell. Consequently, the cell then makes new viruses due to the new genetic code transmitted by the virus. What is astonishing to me is that the virus accomplishes this feat and is deemed nonliving. My question in conjunction with this thought is how and why do they mutate so easily? Because of the job requirement of touching an unclothed client, the virus is one of the most likely pathogens a massage therapist may contract. The therapist may not only contract the virus, but spread it to other parts of the client’s body. Viruses can also spread through inhalation of infected droplets. Regardless of the work setting or style of treatment, the massage therapist must be familiar with all of the sanitary procedures, such as hand washing, glove use, and disinfecting of equipment.

Online Massage Therapy Pathology Class

Tags: , , ,


April 12, 2009

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.

Technorati Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: