Human Immunodeficiency Virus ( Hiv )

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the agent causing AIDS, is arguably the deadliest infectious disease to affect humans. Not only because of the affects it has on the body by the eventual collapse of the immune system, but because it is a master at evading and escaping the immune responses and antiretroviral drugs by constantly mutating and maintaining genetic variation. Vaccines are designed to recognize specific viral antigens which makes it almost impossible to develop one against HIV. Recent studies have claimed that it is the immune response that puts the selective pressure on the virus to mutate that allows it to escape and persist. Others claim that it is the large turn over rate, rapid mutation rate, or ability to hide latently integrated into the host cell’s DNA. Here I will present specific studies to try to determine what is the dominating factor that allows HIV to escape and persist.
In 2014, there was an estimate of 36.9 million people and climbing living with HIV, and with a fatality rate of 100%, AIDS is disputably the deadliest infectious disease to strike mankind (UNAIDS). This number continually increases, not necessarily because more are becoming infected; however, because more people are receiving antiretroviral therapy globally and living longer. Nonetheless, even though HIV infections are declining, there is still an astronomical number of new infections and deaths occurring yearly. The development of HIV antivirals and vaccines has been
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