Certain students with AIDS may assert their right to public education under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA), but the law is only relevant in cases involving special education programs. More commonly, students’ rights are protected by the Rehabilitation Act. Perhaps the most important case in this area is Thomas v. Atascadero Unified School District, 662 F. Supp. 376 (C.D. Cal.1986), which illustrates how far such protections go. Thomas involved an elementary school student with AIDS who had bitten another youngster in a fight. Based on careful review of medical evidence, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California concluded that biting was not proved to transmit AIDS, and it ordered the school district to readmit the girl. Similarly, schools that excluded teachers with AIDS have been successfully sued on the ground that those teachers pose no threat to their students or others and that their right to work is protected by the Rehabilitation Act, as in Chalk.
A person can also get HIV by sharing needles. This means using a needle that has not been cleaned after someone else has used it. Some people who take illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine take these drugs by needle. Some of these people share needles. If one person has HIV and he shares his needles, he can give HIV to other people. But if people have clean needles or if they know how to clean needles, they do not get HIV as much.
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HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live. This section will give you basic information about HIV, such as how it’s transmitted, how you can prevent it, and how to get tested for HIV.
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Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected. In 2010, an estimated 68% (22.9 million) of all HIV cases and 66% of all deaths (1.2 million) occurred in this region. This means that about 5% of the adult population is infected and it is believed to be the cause of 10% of all deaths in children. Here in contrast to other regions women compose nearly 60% of cases. South Africa has the largest population of people with HIV of any country in the world at 5.9 million. Life expectancy has fallen in the worst-affected countries due to HIV/AIDS; for example, in 2006 it was estimated that it had dropped from 65 to 35 years in Botswana. Mother-to-child transmission, as of 2013, in Botswana and South Africa has decreased to less than 5% with improvement in many other African nations due to improved access to antiretroviral therapy.
Toxoplasmosis. This potentially deadly infection is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite spread primarily by cats. Infected cats pass the parasites in their stools, which may then spread to other animals and humans. Seizures occur when it spreads to the brain.
Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune syndrome (HIV/AIDS) has affected people on a global basis. It has been shown that dietary fats may play a role in the parthenogenesis of the infection and disease progression. By examining the effects of saturated, unsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids on HIV infection, it was found that HIV infection could be halted with the consumption of these dietary fats. The virus can be then further immobilized with prolonged antiretroviral therapy and clinical sessions. Dietary fats have the ability to reduce problems related to body composition and health in persons with HIV.
Even with anti-retroviral treatment, over the long term HIV-infected people may experience neurocognitive disorders, osteoporosis, neuropathy, cancers, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disease. Some conditions like lipodystrophy may be caused both by HIV and its treatment.
The stage of symptomatic infection, in which the body’s immune (or defense) system has been suppressed and complications have developed, is called the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The symptoms are caused by the complications of AIDS, which include one or more unusual infections or cancers, severe loss of weight, and intellectual deterioration (called dementia).
Technologies have recently become available that allow for testing with rapid results (eg, turnaround less than 1 hour). The advantage of these tools is that patients can be informed of their results at the same visit at which the testing occurs. In that manner, it is possible to lower the rate of loss to follow-up associated with the traditional two-stage testing and notification approach. Nothing about rapid testing precludes the need for a patient to opt-in or to be offered the opportunity to opt-out of testing (depending on which strategy is adopted). Rapid testing should not be implemented either as mandatory testing or testing performed without informing the patient that she will be tested.
Mycobacteria. AIDS patients may develop tuberculosis or mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections. MAC infections are caused by Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare and occur in about 40% of AIDS patients. This infection rarely develops until the CD4+ counts falls below 50 cells/mm3.
For people who are taking antiretrovirals and are rigidly compliant, this phase can be interrupted, with complete viral suppression. Effective antiretrovirals arrest on-going damage to the immune system.
Guttmacher Institute. An overview of minors’ consent law. State Policies in Brief. New York (NY): GI; 2013. Available at: http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_OMCL.pdf. Retrieved November 4, 2013. ⇦
a disease of the immune system characterized by increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections, to certain cancers, and to neurological disorders: caused by a retrovirus and transmitted chiefly through blood or blood products that enter the body’s bloodstream, esp. by sexual contact or contaminated hypodermic needles.
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