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human immunodeficiency virus, either of two closely related retrovirusesretrovirus,
type of RNA virus that, unlike other RNA viruses, reproduces by transcribing itself into DNA. An enzyme called reverse transcriptase allows a retrovirus's RNA to act as the template for this RNA-to-DNA transcription.
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 that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
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. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States. HIV-2, seen more often in western Africa, has a slower course than HIV-1. There are many strains of both types and the virus mutates rapidly, a trait that has made it especially difficult for researchers to find an effective treatment or vaccine. In many cases, a person's immune system will fight off the invasion of HIV for many years, producing billions of CD4 cells daily, always trying to keep up with the HIV's mutations, before it succumbs and permits the well-known signs of AIDS to develop.

HIV is especially lethal because it attacks the very immune system cells (variously called T4, CD4, or T-helper lymphocytes) that would ordinarily fight off such a viral infection. Receptors on these cells appear to enable the viral RNA to enter the cell. As with all retroviruses, once the RNA is inside the cell, an enzyme called reverse transcriptase allows it to act as the template for its own RNA to DNA transcription. The resultant viral DNA inserts itself into a cell's DNA and is reproduced along with the cell and its daughters. In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration approved a pill that combines two antiretroviral drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine, for use in preventing infection with HIV, and two years later the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the drug combination to be prescribed to uninfected patients who are at risk for AIDS in an effort to reduce number of new HIV infections.

The exact origin of the virus in humans is unclear. Scientists surmise that HIV-1 jumped from African chimpanzees, who harbor a similar strain of SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus), to humans via the butchering of meat or an animal bite. The first case documented in humans dates from 1959, but genetic analysis published in 2008 estimated that it originated some time between 1884 and 1924. A 2014 analysis suggested that the most widespread form of HIV-1 in humans originated in 1920s in what was then the Belgian Congo. AIDS is believed to have spread to the Caribbean in the 1960s and the United States in the early 1970s. The virus was isolated by Luc MontagnierMontagnier, Luc Antoine,
1932–, French virologist, M.D. Sorbonne, 1960. Montagnier was a researcher at the Medical Research Council at Carshalton, London (1960–63), the Institute of Virology in Glasgow, Scotland (1963–65), and the Curie Institute in Orsay,
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 of France's Pasteur Institute in 1983. It went through several name changes before the official name, human immunodeficiency virus, was agreed upon.


References in periodicals archive ?
I believe the ease with which I talk about my positive HIV status helps others, regardless of their status, become at ease with my status too, it helps them be comfortable with an HIV-positive person.
It aims to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and acknowledge the powerful role HIV-positive people have in ending the epidemic.
Acute retroviral syndrome and primary HIV infection may be frequently unsuspected by the evaluating clinician because the signs and symptoms are relatively nonspecific.
Millions of Africans with HIV and AIDS are leaving their disease untreated because they lack life and/or medical insurance.
Finding agents that stop the action of Vif could lead to new ways to interfere with HIV infection.
Survey respondents were 23-29-year-old men who were recruited at venues frequented by men who have sex with men; those who agreed to participate completed standard interviews, had blood drawn for HIV testing, received HIV counseling and, if appropriate, were given a referral for care.
Three rigorous studies currently under way in Africa may further clarify how circumcision affects HIV risk, says Bailey.
Brendan Farrell, president, added, "Trinity's Uni-Gold Recombigentm HIV has enjoyed significant success in the fight against HIV infection in Africa where it is approved by the World Health Organization and used by the Centers for Disease control in their Voluntary Counselling and Testing Programs.
When a child develops HIV infection, a decrease in cognitive function can result because of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction resulting in decline in academic performance (Gay, Armstrong, Cohen, 1995; Nozyce, Hittelman, Muenz, Durako, Fischer, Willonghby, 1994; Chase, Vibbert, Pelton et al, 1995 & Tardieu, Mayaux, Seibel, et al.
It may protect against HIV, but it's not as good as the latex condom a man uses.
Still, without regulations dictating that managed care plans must refer HIV patients to HIV specialists, many people would not receive proper care.