HIV/AIDS in the U.S.A.

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HIV/AIDS in the U.S.A.

Human Immunodeficency Virus (HIV), virus of the retrovirus family, the agent that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). A person infected with HIV gradually loses immune function and becomes vulnerable to numerous infractions that can lead to AIDS. The virus was discovered in association with AIDS by three separate teams of researchers: first in 1983 by Luc Montagnier and scientists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and then in 1984 by Robert Gallo and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, on the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and by Jay Levy and his colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco.

The virus undergoes an incubation period before disease onset, they infect blood cells and the nervous system and suppress the immune system. Then, the virus does a process known as reverse transcription, which converts their genomic RNA into DNA. Currently there are two identified types of HIV, HIV 1 and HIV 2.

HIV infects white blood cells such as CD4 T-lymphocytes. The HIV uses the CD4 as a receptor to which it attaches to. This causes the HIV to fuse with the cell membrane; fusion allows the virus to enter the cell eventually killing the CD4 T-lymphocytes. This is what paralyzes the immune system and causes AIDS.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), specific group of diseases or conditions that result from suppression of the immune system related to infection with HIV. A person with HIV gradually loses their CD4 T-lymphocytes (T-cells) and becomes vulnerable to pneumonia, fungus infections and other common ailments. With the loss of immune function, a clinical syndrome develops over time and eventually results in death due to opportunistic infections or cancers.

When a person is diagnosed as HIV-positive it does not necessarily mean that they have AIDS, although people who are HIV often are mistakenly said to have AIDS. An HIV-positive person can live up to ten years without developing any of the clinical illnesses that define and a diagnosis of AIDS. It is estimated that in 1995, worldwide, 18.4 million people were living with HIV or AIDS.


- The cumulative number of reported AIDS cases from the beginning of the epidemic in 1981

through June

1996, is 548,102.

- 148,705 cases were reported in the United State in the past year.

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