Essay: What Leads to HIV Infection

Sample Essay

HIV in an infected person is carried in the lymphocytes; a type of white blood cell, HIV spreads from one person to another through the transfer of lymphocyte rich fluids such as blood, semen/pre-ejaculatory fluid, vaginal and cervical fluids, urine and feces, breast milk, saliva and tears. Among these, the highest concentration of lymphocytes is in blood and semen making intravenous drug users (IDUs) who share hypodermic syringes and males infected with HIV, the greatest vectors of the disease (Batmanghalidj, 1991).

“African American women and white women are most likely to have been infected through heterosexual contact (67% of African American women and 59% of white women). Thirty percent of African American women and 38% of white women are estimated to have been infected through injection drug use” (Ruiz, Kates, & Pontius, 2003).

In the African American community as in Sub-Saharan African societies multiple sex partners and casual sex is not necessary looked upon in an unfavorable manner (The Black AIDS Institute, 2006). Child-bearing outside the wedlock carries little stigma. Among men having multiple female partners may be seen as a sign of masculinity. In women, having multiple partners may be seen as an economic necessity. It is common for women to have one main partner, referred to as the ‘Cake Daddy’ or the ‘Main Man’. This is usually a comparatively wealthy older man who is valued for the economic stability he brings. In addition a young woman may have ‘Second Man’ closer to her own age. ‘Third Players’ are young poor men with whom a woman has casual sex. According to a University of Alabama study, these often secret social arrangements are greatly conductive to the spread of Sexually Transmitted Illnesses.

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