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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 ?
Humans have different immune systems, and there are different types and subtypes of the HIV virus.
With more than six million people infected with the HIV Virus, Kanyemba feels that the new drug might help people in Africa, which has the highest number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In 2003, Jeffrey Epstein established the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University which, over the past three years, collaborated with John Hopkins University to develop a database to predict the effect of drugs on the HIV virus and notably HIV resistance.
Following our story "Gazza Aids fear" on Janaury 16 we have been asked to point out that he was tested for the HIV virus on January 4.
Among 16-19 year olds, 46% indulged in unprotected sex, 54% were worried about the HIV virus or Aids, 32% had a one night stand and 26% had had sex while drunk.
It is alleged all three discovered they had been infected with the HIV virus after having sex with Konzani.
Last month, Mohammed Dica became the first person to be successfully prosecuted in England and Wales after deliberately infecting two women with the HIV virus.
Even so, the blood-screening technology used in NAT may not be able to detect the HIV virus at the initial stage of infection when for an 11-day period the virus is present only in minute amounts and cannot be detected.
Two people contracted the AIDS-causing HIV virus from blood transfusions provided in July by a regional Florida blood bank, according to the Associated Press.
The number of people in Japan newly infected with the HIV virus in the January-March period this year totaled 123, while the number of AIDS patients stood at 63, according to a report released by a health ministry panel on Thursday.
A woman gave birth in late October to a baby boy conceived via in-vitro fertilization that used her husband's sperm from which the HIV virus had been eradicated, a professor at Niigata University Faculty of Medicine who performed the procedure and other doctors said Thursday.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 30 percent of gay and bisexual African Americans nationwide are infected with the HIV virus, compared to 15 percent of Latinos and 7 percent of whites.