World Distribution and Economic Effects of AIDS Essay

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AIDS was first diagnosed in the USA and although now a world wide pandemic, the main extent of the AIDS problem is concentrated in the continent of Africa, especially south of the Sahara desert. In 2004 30 million Africans were infected and living with AIDS, it is estimated that up to a third of central African are infected with the virus HIV. In other parts of the world the AIDS problem at this time is not so severe however the virus is spreading rapidly, especially in Russia and the former Soviet Union countries. In South East Asia the problem is growing the fastest, due to half the world’s population living in that corner of the world. It is thought that by 2010 the AIDS problem in South East …show more content…


HIV (human immunodeficiency syndrome) is a retrovirus, meaning that it uses it’s viral RNA to produce a single strand of DNA called cDNA (copy DNA) inside the host cell. It carries the enzyme reverse transcriptase which synthesises a single strand of DNA from the viral RNA by reverse transcription and then directs the formation of a complementary double strand of DNA. The double stranded DNA is then inserted into a chromosome in the host cell, where it codes for the synthesis of viral proteins.

The HIV virus specifically attacks T-helper cells which are the bodies defence mechanisms. However once in the cell damage does not occur straight away, the virus remains latent as the infected cells first need to activated. This often occurs as a result of a secondary infection. Once activated the HIV starts to replicate and destroy the host T4 cell. By destroying them it reduces their numbers, this means that the bodies ability to fight disease is greatly reduced due to a lack of white blood cells. Eventually the infected individual can succumb to most forms of infection due to their immune system being so weak. AIDS is culmination of diseases gained due to a weakened immune system. People effectively die of a secondary often common disease.

Replication of HIV

First the HIV retrovirus attaches to a receptor site on the surface of the host cell,

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