Taking a Look at HIV

Decent Essays

Physiological Basis
To be a retrovirus is not the same as a virus. HIV is a retrovirus and it is classified as this because HIV’s genetic information is being enclosed by RNA instead of DNA. HIV targets a specific cell within the immune system and those are the T cells or also known as CD4+ cells. HIV causes immune dysfunction by destroying these cells. HIV contains a glycoprotein, called gp120 that is vital for the virus to enter the T cell. It attaches to the surface, called the CD4+. As it attaches, the retrovirus’ membrane fuses to the lymphocyte cell membrane, therefore gaining entry into the cell.
Once an entry is initiated and completed, HIV has the ability to replicate into thousands of copies of itself by using the host cells resources and the RNA. The RNA, which is two stranded, converts into DNA through an enzyme titled reverse transcriptase. When the DNA is set within the host’s genome, it allows replication to occur. Furthermore, the new viral copies are made and the host cell ruptures and dies. As a result, the multiple viruses are released and continue to infect more of the T cells, weakening the immune system. The normal count of T cells is about 800-1200 cells/mm3. For a while, T cells can be initially replaced, but HIV infection is a slowly progressive disease and soon enough the body becomes exhausted, leading to a decline in T-cell count. There are several prevention measures that can be taken in order to avoid getting HIV. Those include

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