Personal Responses

Personal Responses: Weeks 1-3

Week #1

Type: Personal Reaction Date: 1-22-10 So it has been two days of taking this HIV course and I feel as if I am starting to gain some more interest in the subject and what it entails. I spoke with my fiancé about the course and her knowledge and understanding of HIV and AIDS. I was aware that my fiancé's aunt actually has HIV and AIDs. Yet, despite having a close relative that has HIV she really didn't have a full understanding of how it operates and her family tended to keep her Aunt's sickness very secretive. Although we haven't had any guest speakers in this course yet to hear their personal accounts and story, I would assume that hiding her illness from the world, let alone most of her family, would be very difficult and embarrassing. When I first found out that her Aunt had HIV I will admit that I was very ignorant of the disease and was very skeptical of meeting her out of fear. The first time I ever met her was at a hospital and it was a very nerve racking experience, but I gained a lot from the encounter. Hopefully by taking this course I will become a better educated citizen and maybe teach puzzling issues that my fiancé may have.

Type: News Article Commentary Date: 1-22-10 Reference: The Washington Post 2-26-05 This article discussed a common drug nevirapine, which is used in medicine to prevent HIV transmission from mother to newborn. The article evaluated current use of the drug which is just a single pill taken during labor and has clinically shown to drastically reduce the transmission of HIV to newborns. Yet, like most drugs it has its drawbacks because the mother will become resistant to the drug and reuse of the pill will be futile. To fix the solution medical researchers are discussing the use of multiple drug therapy, not only during labor but during the majority of the pregnancy. This would hopefully reduce the drug resistance problem and further reduce the mother to newborn HIV transmission. In some studies conducted in Africa, there was a huge decrease in transmission and the benefits of the drugs became long term instead of short term. Before reading this article I really had no knowledge of any drug capabilities to reduce HIV transmission during birth, and I honestly didn't know it would ever be possible. It seems that the use of nevirapine has shown great advancements in HIV medicine and is only the beginning of suppressing the HIV virus. I feel that if they can improve on the current labor drug therapy many newborns will have the ability to live there life without being infected. These new drug advancements may also lead to ground breaking changes in all aspects of HIV medicine.

Week #2

Type: Personal Reaction Date: 1-26-10 Yesterday we had our first guest lecturer, Barb Brados. I found her story very enlightening and educational for someone very ignorant, such as me. I discussed her story with many of my close friends and my fiancé, and their reactions were all very similar. They tended to feel sorry for her and the many events in her life. Although this would make sense, I didn't really feel that this sort of emotional recognition was necessary. I wanted to feel sorry for her, but I felt that all of the great work and accomplishments she has created for her life deserve precedence over all the pain. I also hopefully will be able to attend some volunteer events, not just to increase my grade but I feel that it is a deserving cause, but when discussing the matter some friends were skeptical. They really didn't believe that it was safe to help with HIV patients and the potential of getting infected was alarming. I sort of laughed when I heard their reasoning, but I could imagine that from their perspective they don't have a full understanding of the disease, and I even suggested to them to take the course. Although it's a bit early in the course, I know that I will take a huge amount of knowledge from this class.

Type: News Article Commentary Date: 1-26-10 Reference: The article I read discusses the unusual relationship between HIV patients and their increased frequency of sinusitis. Sinusitis is simply referring to a head cold that leaves your entire head inflamed and congested. The basic relationship can be explained by the fact that HIV/AIDS patients tend to be more susceptible to allergies and colds because of their lowered immune system. These simple illnesses cause the inflammation in the sinus cavities because bacteria begin to grow on the congested sinus cavities, thus causing sinusitis. So because the lowered immune system of patients allows for more colds and easier growth of bacteria, the patient is going to typically experience for outbreaks of sinusitis. Although all of this seems pretty basic to a biology or microbiology student, I felt the article gave some insight on the more frequent effects of HIV. Majority of the public knows that HIV can lead to immune deficiency, but they most likely never evaluate the fact that these infected people deal with illnesses that may only strike us once a year. It is also quite interesting to reflect on the fact as to how important our immune system is to our body's performance and we sometime forget that until we have that nagging head cold.

Week #3

Type: Personal Reaction Date: 2-3-10 A couple days ago I saw an ad for a condom commercial and instead of changing to the next channel I actually watched the advertisement and evaluated it. After the commercial had ended I really didn't take any knowledgeable information from the “Trojan” ad and I felt that if young teenage children are watching this; they are definitely not gaining any insight into protection. I felt the advertisement was trying to make the idea of safe sex funny and that having unprotected sex is simply just idiotic and scary. Although I do agree that teens should fear safe sex, I didn't feel that the ad gave any educational reasons or facts as to why unprotected sex is “idiotic” and “ridiculous”. I know that putting a whole educational segment in an ad can be quite difficult, but if a commercial for meth and crack can achieve this emotional appeal, so can a condom commercial. I feel that more condom companies need to incorporate facts about HIV and its highly infectious nature, and then explain that condoms are a way to keep healthy from this deadly virus. I know that taking sex education taught me a lot about STDs and the scary nature of HIV, but as much as children watch TV a good reminder ad is necessary to make sure that HIV isn't spread more in their generation.

Type: News Article Commentary Date: 2-3-10 Reference: Philippine Daily Inquirer The article I read this week was focused on the ever growing HIV infected population in the Philippines. The topic of discussion was how the internet has brought about a dramatic increase in HIV spread and infection because networking sites are allowing for more people to interact sexually. Although they describe the internet's negative impact on HIV and Aids, they also discuss how the Philippino government has not taken initiatives to educate its citizens and promote safe sex practices. I felt that the article kind of related to my personal reaction for the week, that our country and other countries are not taking sufficient time to spread knowledge about HIV and this is leading to an epidemic in countries like the Philippines. I also felt that the article was dead on about the fact that the internet has opened portals for new sexual communication and now teens and adults are having more sexual partners. I use to have a coworker who would browse personal networking websites, find someone, and then meet them that night and have sexual relations. This is happening all the time and people are doing it without realizing the extreme danger and are simply worried about pregnancy. The impact that the article wants to press on the reader is that having sex is not the issue, but people need to examine their sexual behavior.

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