Kathleen Collins, assistant professor of internal medicine, emphasized the global impact of AIDS yesterday as part of a lecture titled, “HIV and AIDS: The Current Crisis.”

Paul Wong
Assistant professor of internal medicine Kathleen Collins addressed students last night regarding the state of AIDS in the world. (JOHN PRATT/Daily)

One of the five leading causes of death in the world, AIDS has devastated the lives of more than 36 million people and carries a death toll of more than 20 million people worldwide.

Seventy-five percent of AIDS-related deaths are located in sub-Saharan Africa with one in every three adults in the region being a carrier of the disease.

“Subsistence families are especially hard hit in these areas. In some families both parents have died, and children are forced to leave school to tend their homes,” Collins said.

In addition to lack of proper education about the disease, Collins also noted that the scarcity of funds to buy medicine and treatment in southern African regions have led to an increasing rate of AIDS fatalities.

The discussion focused on the biological process of HIV infection leading to full-blown AIDS.

“Those micro-organisms that at once lived with us peacefully will now work against us,” Collins said, describing the eventual deterioration of the human immune system when exposed to the HIV virus.

Collins will give another lecture Sunday evening titled, “HIV and AIDS: Future Directions.”

The lecture was part of the Life Sciences, Values, and Society Program’s public lecture series which hosts free lectures Sunday evenings 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hutchins Hall in the Law School. Future discussions include “The Science and Politics of Global Warming.”

Moderated by Law Prof. Rebecca Eisenberg, the lecture series aims to give the general public a better understanding of the life sciences and their social implications.

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