Sep 29, 2009

To the Desk: Swine Flu

by Lauren Jeffrey

AIDS is an undeniable tragedy. It is rampant in many countries. United States researchers have recently discovered antibodies that may lead to development of a vaccine for the AIDS causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), according to the Sept. 4 issue of Science.

Prior to this, several organizations such as Avery, Center for AIDS Prevention and the Samaritan’s Purse have been working to stop the spread of the disease through education while providing for the families who are already suffering. Because AIDS has been in America since 1981, it is not currently in the news, however, Americans all over the nation are learning about it in school, magazines and at various religious events.

The reason AIDS is not a greater epidemic in the United States is because we have the resources and the will to take action. Swine flu has only attacked America within the past year.

“Each year in the United States on average… 36,000 people die from flu-related causes,” according to the Center for Disease Control.

The number is still not comparable to the millions that have died in Africa. Nonetheless, individuals dying in America are of equal value to those in other countries. It is a common misconception that swine flu deaths are limited to persons with previous illnesses. On Sept. 5, a 32-year-old woman died at an Alabama hospital with no known health problems prior to contracting the Swine Flu.

Unlike AIDS, everyone is at some risk to contract the swine flu. Although the death total is minimal so far, it will only increase. Panicking is never ideal when an epidemic strikes, but when action follows panic, it saves lives.

— Lauren Jeffrey

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