Aids: the Silent Killer

758 Words Nov 22nd, 2010 4 Pages
AIDS: The Silent Killer
Introduction
AIDS is one of the most commonly known sexually transmitted diseases. The last stages of HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, are what we know as AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV is similar to other viruses like the flu or common cold except the human immune system cannot destroy the virus. The virus can hide in the cells of the body for long periods of time and attacks important parts of the immune system like T-cells or CD4 cells. Once HIV destroys a lot of CD4 cells the human body can no longer fight against infections and diseases. AIDS is diagnosed when the body cannot fight against disease and the patient has one or more specific opportunistic infections (OIs), different types of
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In 1982, scientists discovered that AIDS remains a sexually transmitted disease. Not until 1984 did researchers conclude that AIDS is caused by HIV. 12 Although HIV has become somewhat maintainable, during the early years of the AIDs virus a vaccine seemed impossible, and with almost 30 years since the virus first budded its head there is still no vaccine.13 As I said earlier HIV is a virus, specifically a retrovirus. Retroviruses contain RNA for their genetic material, but once someone is infected the virus uses an enzyme called transcriptase to turn RNA into DNA.14 The virus then continues to replicate itself.15 People usually do not realize they have HIV because it is a lentivirus and there is usually a long period of time between the time of infection and the sign of serious symptoms.16 Animals have similar versions of HIV that have made good but not perfect models of how HIV works.17 HIV replicates at impeccable speeds creating billions of new HIV viruses to infect the body every day.18 The virus is able to mutate and evolve which makes it that much harder to defeat the virus.19 The CD4 cells and T cells are destroyed daily by HIV which eventually causes the immune system to regenerate or defeat infections.20 HIV is able to hide in the cytoplasm of the cell that it infects or makes its way into the cell’s chromosomes.21 The virus does this to hide from the immune system so it will not be destroyed.22 Some drugs have been found to
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