Essay about Hiv And The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Essay about Hiv And The Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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An immunodeficiency is a congenital or acquired condition that impairs the production or function of immune cells or certain molecules, such as antibodies. The most devastating of the acquired immunodeficiency is acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) which destroys the immune system by interfering with the activity of helper T cells. It was first identified in the United States in 1981 among homosexual men and intravenous drug user. The course of AIDS is often grim, finally ending in complete debilitation and death from cancer or overwhelming infection.
AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is a virus transmitted in body secretions- especially blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. HIV commonly enters the body via blood transfusions or blood-contaminated needles and during sexual intercourse. It is also present in saliva and tears, and there are documented cases of transmission by oral sex. An infected mother can also transmit the virus to her fetus.
HIV destroys helper T cells, depressing cellular immunity. Although B cells and Cytotoxic T cell initially mount a vigorous response to viral exposure, over time a profound deficit of B cell and Cytotoxic T cell function develops. The whole immune system is turned upside down. The virus multiplies steadily in the lymph nodes throughout most of the asymptomatic period, which averages ten years in the absence of treatment. Symptoms appear when the lymph nodes can no longer contain the virus and the immune system collapses. The virus also invades the brain (which accounts for the dementia some AIDS patients develop.
HIV target CD4 cells via their CD4 surface proteins. Once these and other proteins have connected. The virus fuses with the target cell. Once ins...


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...ptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors inhibit important viral enzymes needed for viral replication after the virus has entered the target cells. Combination therapy using several drugs at once delivers a one-two punch to the virus. It delays drug resistance and causes the viral load to plummet while boosting the number of helper T cells. Sadly, even combination drug therapies fail as the virus becomes resistant. For years, the long-term goal has been to develop a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. Unfortunately, out the numerous vaccine trails to date, only one has had even modest success, and this goal remains a long way away. In the meantime, barrier methods such as latex condoms, male and female remain the prevention method of choice. For these women who cannot always insist on condom use, a new antiretroviral vaginal gel can reduce infection risk by about 50%.

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