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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.

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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
But the London patient's conditioning treatment was far milder than Brown's, leading many to conclude this was probably not responsible for vanquishing the HIV virus.
Besides Karachi, he informed that 46 AIDS clinic and 56 test centres of HIV virus have been engaged in providing treatment in various cities of the province including Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Larkana.
But that apart, I do know people who are living with the HIV virus. There are a couple of people also employed by me, who have the HIV virus."
History has once again been made after scientists at the International AIDS Society conference in Paris confirmed that a child who was born infected with HIV virus has remained healthy for the last nine years without further drugs after being given a short course of treatment at birth, the Guardian reported on Monday.
Cases of young men getting infected with HIV virus is on the rise in Middle East and Africa because of the lack of awareness regarding issues like drug abuse and unprotected physical contacts among adolescents, ( Sat PR News reported.
Essentially what I wrote was that condoms are not the solution to the spread of the HIV virus; rather people must practice chastity.
One of the most important applications of fullerene derivatives is the elimination of HIV virus. A few nanostructures of fullerene derivatives have been introduced in this research as anti-HIV drugs and their tendency to attach to HIV enzyme has been theoretically investigated.
HIV tests work by examining antibodies that the human body produces against the HIV virus.
The survey findings, released on the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the HIV virus, showed one in five of the public wrongly believe that people with HIV can only expect to live for 10 years after acquiring the virus, even if they are on treatment and not diagnosed late.
24 March 2014 - Researchers from the Spanish University of Granada have found a novel allosteric interaction between a part of the sheath of the HIV virus and antibody 2F5, which may be incorporated in HIV vaccines, news portal Vaccine News reported on Friday.
44.95% participants knew that mosquito bite from HIV/AIDS infected person will not transmit HIV virus. 57.62% of participants knew that IV drug abuse will spread HIV virus.
Nkosinati Mabanda admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on the woman by infecting her with the HIV virus.