Early Greek Education

2610 Words Jan 26th, 2013 11 Pages
HIV Infection

Definition HIV infection is a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The condition gradually destroys the immune system, which makes it harder for the body to fight infections. Most people infected with HIV eventually develop AIDS. These individuals mostly die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system. HIV progresses to AIDS at a variable rate affected by viral, host, and environmental factors; HIV-specific treatment delays this process. Most will progress to AIDS within 10 years of HIV infection: some will have progressed much sooner, and some will take much longer. Treatment with anti-retrovirals increases the life expectancy of
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The first stage of infection, the primary, or acute infection, is a period of rapid viral replication that immediately follows the individual 's exposure to HIV leading to an abundance of virus in the peripheral blood with levels of HIV commonly approaching several million viruses per mL. This response is accompanied by a marked drop in the numbers of circulating CD4+ T cells. This acute viremia is associated in virtually all patients with the activation of CD8+ T cells, which kill HIV-infected cells, and subsequently with antibody production, or seroconversion. The CD8+ T cell response is thought to be important in controlling virus levels, which peak and then decline, as the CD4+ T cell counts rebound to around 800 cells per µL (the normal blood value is 1200 cells per µL ). A good CD8+ T cell response has been linked to slower disease progression and a better prognosis, though it does not eliminate the virus. During this period (usually 2–4 weeks post-exposure) most individuals (80 to 90%) develop an influenza or mononucleosis-like illness called acute HIV infection. Because of the nonspecific nature of these symptoms, they are often not recognized as signs of HIV infection. Even if patients go to their doctors or a hospital, they will often be misdiagnosed as having one of the more common infectious diseases with the same symptoms. Consequently, these primary symptoms
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