My definition of health was the absence of disease through biological, social, and psychological aspects.  My definition of illness was the biological and psychological effects felt through disease. The reason why I chose these two definitions was both are a fundamental part of the human experience, but they are shaped through societal factors. I believe the definitions come from family, media, and our own experience. Our parents are the ones who take care of us when we are sick, and try to steer us clear of things that will make us sick. We also are constantly shown “healthy” and “fit” bodies in the media, which shapes our reality when it comes to health. And finally, our own experience leads us to realize when we are not fully healthy, or doing things we know will make us feel ill in the future.

HIV should be considered a disease because it is something we inherit or obtain, and it leads to the experience of illness. Diseases are often very difficult to treat, and as well all know, HIV is incurable at the moment. When describing how someone feels, they don’t normally say “I fell HIV right now”. To me disease is something you have, where illness is something you feel because of the disease.

Anxiety should be considered an illness because it is an experience that we feel, and not likely something one would obtain, even though it is possible. Anxiety is a feeling, whereas you normally don’t “feel “ a disease. Anxiety is a tough one to categorize due to the fact that it is something that can be biologically passed on, but I feel as though it resides more in the illness category due to the fact that it is more of an experience as opposed to something some one has.



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Keiana Smith says:

    Hi Matt

    I agree with your post on HIV and Anxiety, as well as, I like your perspective on what is Health and Illness. The way we view Illness and Health has a great deal to do with society and the influences around us. What we learn and come to know as the ‘norm’ in our society is what shapes our perceptions of Health and Illness. However, it is also up to the individual and what they think and feel is healhty and what is an illness. HIV is a disease that causes illnesses but ultimately leads to full-blown AIDS, which is the breakdown and attack of the immune system which allows other illnesses to infiltrate and take over the body. Anxiety I believe is based on the individual. Yes, it is an illness, however, if that individual does not recognize it as an illness then to them it can be just a “phase.” Great job!!!!

  2. J. Brodie Timms-Fryer says:

    For HIV there is some recent, although skeptical hope making its’ rounds since March of this year. Recently, through the use of antiretroviral drugs (ARV’s), the norm in staving off the worst of HIV symptoms in patients, showed what seems to be a cured infant (Coghlan 2013). While there has been another case of a seemingly cured individual resulting from a proposed genetic predisposition (CCR5 defective gene), this recent advent of a patient responding so positively to treatment could give amazing insight into treating the disease in infants.

    However, there is still a huge stigma that contributes to the spread of this disease. This is probably the most prevalent affectation from stigma that we see in any disease or illness. Solely based on the way this disease is perceived is in and of itself another disease, a disease of stigma. The anti-HIV-stigma website, suggests that the stigma does in fact contribute to the spread of the disease. By making HIV a hushed term it is more likely that those infected, in this case males who have intercourse with other males (per their statistical definition) are more apt to withhold this information and begrudgingly spread the disease. It is said that an alarming 17% of males who have intercourse with males in Ontario ( total population ~13.5 million, ) are infected with disease. If any were to hide their status and engage in intercourse with another, this number would indefinitely rise.

    Andy Coghlan, “HIV baby ‘cure’ with triple blast of drugs” New Scientist 2907 (2013) accessed July 3, 2013 ‘HIV Stigma” accessed July 3, 2013

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